Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Rumor Mill

When I was in seventh grade, about to enter eight grade, Mrs. Porter was this scary witch of a lady who was rumored to have hit children with rulers. We were terrified of her. She even had black hair and wore black clothes. But it turns out she was one of the most engaging teachers I had, and I learned and excelled more in her history class than I expected. When I received the best score on our semester test out of the entire grade, I was proud of myself. She had a fun way of teaching, as long as you paid attention. We all grew to love her class – and while I did witness one of those rumored ruler smackings, it was more light-hearted than mean, and was actually well-deserved.

Have you ever believed a rumor before verifying it's truthfulness or source? Do you often believe things you hear without further investigation? Or, have you ever been the instigator of a rumor you know isn't true or may not be true? Rumors can be nasty, deceitful, hurtful, and just plain mean. Really, it's a fancy word for a lie. While not all rumors prove to be lies, I think that unverified truth is a lie simply because you don't know if the information you are passing on is true or not. So before heading to the water cooler Monday morning and perpetuating the ye old rumor mill, check your facts, motives, and if the information you are about to share is even relevant to or the business of those you are going to share it with. And above all, remember what the bible tells us about rumor-spreading, gossip, and judgment:

Leviticus 19:16 – “Do not go about spreading slander among your people. Do not do anything that endangers your neighbor’s life. I am the Lord.”

Proverbs 11:13 – “A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy man keeps a secret.”

Matthew 7:1 – “Do not judge, or you too will be judged.”

Proverbs 18:8 – “The words of gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to a man’s inmost parts.”

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