February 10, 2009
Has anyone ever told you something and you immediately gasped and then told the next person what you just heard? Sometimes, we tell others out of concern and also to inform them so they can be concerned as well. On the other hand, if it’s juicy gossip we just can’t seem to keep it to ourselves, whether it’s true or not. As a kid I was told to keep things a secret. Oh, my goodness how difficult that was! Still is. It’s like putting a “fresh paint” sign on something. You just want to touch it to see if it’s still wet. Admit it. You’ve done it or wanted to do it. The temptation is too great.
In God’s Word Jesus said “If you hold to my teaching, you are my disciples. Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31-32) Jesus himself is the truth that sets us free. When we know and seek Him we are free from continued slavery to sin, from self-deception and from deception by Satan.
A few years ago God really impressed on me the need to always tell the truth and seek the truth in all things. At times I would wonder if I was just suspicious of people or not trusting because sometimes it’s hard to know if something is true. If I hear something and don’t understand it, the best way is to find out is to seek it out on my own. If that is not possible I go to sources that “should” know. Of course, God’s Word is absolutely true and I can rely on it. I also ask for God to show me and guide me in the truth. Knowing what is true sure helps to know when people are trying to pull the wool over your eyes. The bottom line is if you don’t know the truth you can be easily deceived and believe a lie in a heartbeat.
You know, as humans we tend to want to trust everyone. If this person seems knowledgeable of facts, seems to have it all together, then surely it’s true. Also we tend to believe if it’s in print, on the news or on the internet, it must be true. Wrong! Granted, if you know the person and trust them chances are they are going to be straight with you. But what if they have the wrong facts? What if you believe them and then you pass it on to others and it’s completely wrong? Then you have been instrumental in passing on incorrect information. Before long several people are believing a lie. I certainly don’t want to be responsible for that.
If you have ever opened an email you have certainly dealt with rumors, myths and shared information. As Christians we want to make sure that everyone else is informed about things that should concern us. We are compassionate and our heart goes out to the cause. But is it true? Check it out before blindly forwarding it others. It only takes a few minutes. Otherwise you have been part of a big lie, whether intentional or not. Ignore the claims that it was checked out and true. Go find out for yourself. Often times it’s not true. Be responsible. Break that email chain of deception!
In the same way, if you hear gossip, find out if it’s true. If you don’t know if it's the truth, then don’t tell spread it around. I don’t know how many times I’ve said this and heard this: “I don’t know if this is true, but…” Gossip can be very destructive. Sure we all want to be concerned and pray for situations and people. But think about this. If we are praying for something that is not true, can you imagine what God hears?
The thing about gossip is that if you’re not part of the problem or part of the solution, it’s none of your business. It’s like a fire. If you let it go on and on and fan the flames it will spread quickly and do a great deal of damage. On the other hand if you throw water on it pretty soon it will go out. Make sure you are not part of the problem fanning the flames! Throw that water where needed.
Always seek the truth in all things, God’s truths. Remember the truth will set you free. Jesus Christ came to set us free. He is the way, the truth and the life. (John 14:6)