Do you know folks who spread rumors without having any knowledge of the real truth? Do you know folks who seem to find pleasure in making stuff up just so they can try to pull someone down, make someone else look bad or to make themselves feel important by knowing some juicy piece of information? Do you know people who try to twist information around to use for their advantage?
Scripture speaks about gossip and those who spread rumors; “A perverse man stirs up dissension, and a gossip separates close friends.” (Prov 16:28) “A gossip betrays a confidence; so avoid a man who talks too much.” (Prov 20:19) “Without wood a fire goes out; without gossip a quarrel dies down.” (Prov 26:20) Biblically speaking, those who spread gossip will be held accountable by God.
I heard a great illustration of gossip not along ago; “Mildred, the church gossip, and self-appointed monitor of the church’s morals, kept sticking her nose in to other people’s business. Several members did not approve of her extra curricular activities, but feared her enough to maintain their silence. Mildred made a mistake, however, when she accused Frank, a new member, of being an alcoholic after she saw his old pickup parked in front of the town’s only bar one afternoon. She emphatically told Frank (and several others) that everyone seeing it there would know what he was doing.”
“Frank, a man of few words, stared at her for a moment and just turned and walked away. He didn’t explain, defend, or deny… He said nothing. Later that evening, Frank quietly parked his pickup in front of Mildred’s house… Walked home… And left it there all night!!!” You gotta love Frank!
The “rumor mill” of any community only exists because people want to hear gossip. If we all stopped listening to it, and made folks be accountable when they told us information that was untrue the rumor mill would dry up. Most rumors / gossip are made up of mostly lies. If you hold the “lie carriers” accountable for telling you stuff that is not true, they will stop doing it.
Satan is going to stir up as many lies as possible. He is always predictable. He uses the same people over and over again to stir other people with untruths, half truths, as well as misunderstood and misapplied truth. If traced back to the original sources, all gossip could be traced back to a small group of “sources”… everyone else is a “carrier”… but there will be only a few “original sources” that start the rumor mill.
The gossip problem is a spiritual problem. Even those who call themselves “Christ-followers” can be a part of the problem. True Christ-followers need to set the pace by refusing to be a part of the rumor mill. The enemy will always use gossip as a method of control, intimidation, and manipulation.
Be a part of the solution. Let’s confront the rumor mill whenever it rises, especially when it is tearing someone down. Always remember, those who spread gossip TO you will also spread gossip ABOUT you eventually.