“Rumor has it…” What is it about having the edge on juicy information? What drives people to be the first to have and share some inside information? If someone starts off a sentence with, “Guess what I heard?” you had better be careful to check that information as truth before sharing it. Why is it we love rumors and gossip? What is even more ironic is that they are both forms of lies. If Satan is the father of all lies (John 8:44) then why do Christians especially run to them sometimes like moths to a flame?
Proverbs 18:8 says this about rumors: “What dainty morsels rumors are. They sink deep into one’s heart.” Rumors draw us in like a magnet. Matching rumors against truth before believing or spreading them sometimes evades Christians. Scripture says we shall know the truth and the truth shall set us free (John 8:32). We should check everything against truth before we accept it as truth. Ephesians 4:29 says, “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, that it may give grace to those who hear.”
Well-meaning people can sometimes unintentionally spread gossip and rumor – lies. To stop spreading rumors you must do a few necessary fact checking steps. First, consider the source. Is the person telling you this information reliable and trustworthy? Is this the person you get all your truth from? Next, consider the person the information is about. Is this generally true about their character and lifestyle? The best way to clear the whole matter up is to go directly to the person the story is about. Call them, meet with them, speak directly to them – do whatever it takes to get the truth from them before you believe and spread the juicy information. Whatever happened to believing the best about someone before we jump to conclusions? Whatever happened to believing God’s Word over the Devil’s lies? Even if you do have true information you should seek to protect another believer and not use it against them. Proverbs 11:13 says a trustworthy person keeps information, not spreads it like wildfire.
I’ve gone as far as to say, “That is out of their character and until I can speak with them directly about it I must choose not to believe it.” I’ve also said, “Let’s get them on the phone right now so we can ask them.” I also attempt to trace a rumor back to its source. I ask that person to call everyone back and clear up the matter. Too bold? Confrontation with the truth is the only action that will stop a gossip dead in their tracks. This kind of action clears up the matter immediately. “For lack of wood the fire goes out, and where there is no whisperer, quarreling ceases” (Proverbs 26:20). Sometimes people spread information in the guise of prayer. “Pray for so-and-so because of what they did.” Problem is most of the time no one gets around to praying.
Lies, gossip, rumors, and deception are all tools of Satan to bring disunity to the Church and damage to the Christian’s life. Believing these can cause division, offense, bitterness, and the destruction of relationships. Kill the rumor before it kills you.
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Stephen Harrison is associate pastor of Family Church at White Hall.
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