Do you remember “playing post” office as a kid?
This is the game in which involved a group of kids who start off whispering a story to the person next to you and so on around the circle. At the end of the circle the last person would tell the group what they heard and the first person would tell everyone what was actually said. It’s always a stitch to see how the message morphed.
Unfortunately “post office” happens in real life much to often.
Usually it happens in “well-meaning” gossip. What happens is some one questions something that they heard, saw, or read and instead of going to the source and clarifying the situation they share it with another person and that person shares it with the next person and so on and so on. Ultimately we have a mountain that was simply a molehill and potentially a life or reputation is ruined.
2 Thessalonians 3:11 (NIV) 11 We hear that some among you are idle. They are not busy; they are busybodies.
Proverbs 16:28 (NLT) 28 A troublemaker plants seeds of strife; gossip separates the best of friends.
Number of years ago a pastor friend of mine was doing research on the Internet searching for some resources on Christian body life. He was studying in his office and at his computer he typed in the phrase “the tie that binds” and hit search. What he found was a list of websites that were S&M sites. He was mortified and absolutely scared that someone would find out and accuse him of surfing the Internet for porn.
He told me the story in confidence some ten years ago and has since said it was OK to pass this story along.
The fear has long since died down but the humor has not passed.
Suspicion and lack of trust runs rampant in many churches and reputations can be ruined and ministries affected by the loose lips of well meaning people. We are all prone to doing foolish things that can take on a life of their own. We need to grant grace in the same way that we have been given grace. Otherwise...
...as Bill Ingval would say:
“Here’s Your Sign!”