Having lived in small communities all my adult life, I know the power of hearsay. Rumors. In fact, one of my favorite games as a kid was playing “Telephone,” when we would begin with one statement, whisper it around a circle of friends, and then hear what that statement evolved into. It was often hilarious, often confusing, and just plain fun.
Here are some of my favorite friends from high school. We played this game.
Sometimes the fun gets a little out of hand. That can happen in a church, in town, in clubs. It can actually hurt people. I recently heard several juicy tidbits of information that didn’t quite ring true. Since they affected me, I checked them out. Sure enough, without naming names, I discovered that no, old farmer Mitchell did not shoot through the window of his neighbor’s house in the middle of the night. What happened was that he shot at a fox headed toward his henhouse. That bullet didn’t even hit that house. It didn’t hit the fox, either.
I also discovered that, yes, the pastor of a certain church in town did have a relationship with a new woman in town. That woman just happened to be his sister. Nothing wrong with that. By the time word spread that the woman was his sister, the rumor had thrown a kink in the family relationships, and reverberated throughout the church.
I have heard some very shocking pieces of information lately. I found some of them to be true, some false. For instance, the man working on landscaping grounds around the home we’re trying to sell does charge for his services, but the bill is nowhere near $45,000. Gasp. Thanking God for that!
Yes, some friends of mine were forced to sue an insurance company to make them pay for the damage done in an accident. It paid their hospital bills, however. It didn’t buy them a new house and set them up in a cushy business.
I can’t help wondering, casually, what rumors might be flying around about us. Do you? Whatever I hear that sounds outrageous, I either dismiss it as a grossly exaggerated nugget of truth, or, if it affects me, I gently dig until I get to the bottom of the rumor. I never believe much of what I hear, and sometimes I don’t even believe what I see with my own eyes. The Bible has some things to say about gossip and the people who spread it. Don’t allow yourself to be caught in that trap.