The Danger of Rumors

The Danger of Rumors
It is likely that each of us has been the subject of rumors at some time or another. Undeniably, it hurts and causes pain. However, have we considered that at some time we may have hurt others by talking and spreading gossip or tales? I would imagine that some of us would plead guilty. Nevertheless, it is so easy to focus on the former when we are the victims or have been afflicted by unfounded sayings.  Accordingly, I thought to share a few points on how to relate to rumors.
 
Do not Become a Conduit of Rumors
It is reasonable to say that as long as there are humans on planet earth, rumors are likely to continue. Notwithstanding that probability, each of us could and needs to determine that it will not be communicated by me or us. By the grace of God, we ought to resist the temptation to talk or share that which is unfounded. However, that is not to say that we do not confront another when there is damaging information circulating. Ellen White counsels, “The door of the mind should be closed against ‘They say,’ or ‘I have heard.’ Why should we not, instead of allowing jealousy or evil surmising to come into our hearts, go to our brethren, and after frankly but kindly setting before them the things we have heard detrimental to their character and influence, pray with and for them?” (TM p. 504).
 
Do Not Entertain or Spread Rumors
Instead of spreading rumors or entertaining them, we are admonished by the Apostle Paul, “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things” (Phil. 4:8, NKJV). It is enticing to believe that if I am not instigating the rumor, I could innocently listen or entertain others who have something to say of another. To simply listen without instructing the person to apply Matthew 18, or going to the individual to confront him/her, I would be lacking in my duty. The one bringing the news should be encouraged to go to the person in question, and if he or she desires that you or I do, then they must give us permission to call their name or be prepared to be identified. If not, leave it alone by not entertaining any further words or sharing it with another. Employing the above text (Philippians 4:8) Ellen White says, “Our minds will not dwell on scandal and flying reports. But ‘whatsoever things are true. . ..’” (TM p.505).
 
Confront Instead
While we may find it appealing to engage in listening and talking about situations, here is where we find it most challenging (That is, to confront) and for any number of reasons. But we must learn to do so “frankly but kindly setting before them the things we have heard detrimental to their character and influence, . . .” (TM p. 504). Additionally, we are to pray with and for them. We may not realize how encouraging it is to pray with and for another going through serious scandals. Now if one denies the scandals, we give him/her the benefit outside of evidence. Truth can stand on its own. It will surface in time. However, our role is not to be judge or accuser. Our role is to confront, pray and leave the matter to God. There is more as some situations are so complicated necessitating some actions but always in love and with compassion.
            Also, it is necessary that we not leave the door open for the enemy to make more damaging the situation. Here is where divine wisdom is required in communicating with some persons if in a church or organization. Consultation and much prayer are absolutely necessary.           
As we begin this n New Year, may God help us to shun rumors and instead be the bearers of good news. Also, I ask that you support the prayer initiative PUSH. If you have not received your prayer card, refer to the Union’s web page for a copy at www.atcunion.org.