Rumors are a part of the real world.
Some media outlets stay in business by initiating, “leaking” or spreading rumors. The trending new terms “fake news” or “click bait” have magnified this issue.
Why were they hit songs? Because they “hit” on a touchy and intense situation all humans have encountered.
We hear rumors about governmental officials, politicians, businesses, entertainers, athletes, colleagues, classmates, and families. And, yes, some of the juiciest rumors that we hear are about members of churches or those who are popular speakers.
Why do people have this impulse to listen to gossip?
Maybe it’s because they want to be “in the know”. No one wants to be left out, uninformed, the last to find out.
It seems like we all have something of a weak spot for getting “inside information”, or details about what’s going on with someone we know.
Maybe some people have a desire to “get some dirt” on others. It confirms their unfounded, but simmering suspicions about them.
The better the person is admired, the more fun it is to find out something bad about them. So sad!
A great author, John Powell, wrote,
“Gossiping can also be a balm for sensitive and guilty feelings.
Some people like to recite the misdeeds of others so they won’t have to feel so badly about their own misdeeds.
After reading the trash said about others, their own petty offenses don’t seem to be such terrible evils after all.”
No wonder the “National Enquirer” and other gossipy publications make billions!
What is a rumor, anyway?
Here are some standard definitions:
- general talk not based on definite knowledge;
- mere gossip or hearsay; an unconfirmed report, story, or statement in general circulation;
- a piece of unverified information of uncertain origin usually spread by word of mouth or subtle nuance.
So, a rumor is something that is hearsay or gossip — it’s information that is unconfirmed or unverified, and can often be “finessed” to cast an unfavorable or unfair shadow over someone.
Actually, one part of the final definition mentioned above needs to be updated, the part about rumors usually being spread “by word of mouth.”
While that is most likely still the most common tool used for the transmission of rumors, it is also seen to spread widely today via e-mail, web sites, Facebook, and other social media.
You and I do not have to go searching for rumors; they seem to come looking for us, as they now show up in so many settings!
It is sad that people of the world speak irresponsibly and tell things which are not based on verifiable proof, but we expect this to happen from the children of darkness.
How much sadder it is when those who are called to be the children of light (Ephesians 5:8) join in the rumor-spreading business.
I feel that this is one area of life where we can apply the words of our LORD: “Come out from among them and be separate” (2 Corinthians 6:17).
Brothers and sisters, let’s be careful, extremely careful, in spreading information about others.
Some rumors may be innocent in that we may think that they have no serious bearing on a person’s reputation.
Someone might pass along what he/she heard or “thinks they heard” about a certain person, or how it was perceived.
➡️ As it often turns out, not all of the details, emotions, or facts, get communicated fairly if the party passing on hearsay is determined to cast a poor light on someone else to avoid looking at their own culpability. ⬅️
If no real damage is done to the other individual’s reputation, it’s a rarity.
But what about yours?
If we hear something and just repeat it as if it were confirmed truth, and it turns out that what we said was not true at all, what has been done?
Well, for one thing we have demonstrated that not everything you hear from us is accurate or without bias. Ouch!
Credibility is not a small matter!
Remember what Jesus said: “He who is faithful in small things is also faithful in much, and he who is unjust in what is little is unjust also in much.” (Luke 16:10).
Looking at the foundation stone of “The Golden Rule,” God’s children shouldn’t be guilty of spreading rumors, nor presuming that they are well enough informed about someone else’s skills or gifts or presentation to become “Critics at Large” and pass judgement about whether or not someone is good enough or smart enough or skilled to excel in their life vocation or calling. (Like armchair quarterbacks!)
The Master said, “So, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them . . .” (Matthew 7:12).
No one enjoys it when others spread unverified information about them, and out of respect for them, their family, and their reputation, we should not be passing on rumors or “extended versions of events” about them.
If we are truly and deeply committed (devoted) to being called Saints of God, we are not supposed to speak words of corruption, “but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to hearers,” (Ephesians 4:29).
Our speech should be for the building up, or instructing of others, not those things which have the potential to do them harm.
This CAN also mean…
… That instruction is not heard correctly and can be skewed to fit a trend of popular thought or well planned propaganda.
Eventually, whatever we store up inside of our hearts, whether good, fair, superior… or… angry, critical or judgmental, — these things bubble up and out of our mouths and produce results.
The Bible says that love “thinks no evil”, (1 Corinthians 13:5).
Let us also not “speak evil” of another.
Let the words of our mouths and the things we meditate and think about, be acceptable in the full view of The LORD.
That’s what counts ultimately… in the end.
In His Shadow,
~ Mary Lindow ©
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Mary Lindow has a passion for encouraging others – all generations, careers or vocations to live expressing excellence through personal integrity, healthy accountability, and wise management of talents and skills. She’s a sought after keynote, inspirational, humorous speaker and teacher across the USA and internationally in Ministers & Spiritual leaders Conferences, and training seminars for various organizations.