Thursday, June 17, 2010

Elvis is IN the Building

One of my favorite rumors about Elvis is that he is alive and well and has been spotted in a laundry mat in Kalamazoo Michigan. Thirty years ago a couple overheard a conversation I was having with friends about a new pool that Becki and I were enjoying. We suddenly became their best friends. I couldn’t figure out why they were rushing us until they started asking about our new pool and when we were going to have friends over.

I have to say that I laughed in their face I realized that the only reason they were interested in us was our “new pool.” You should have seen their fallen faces when they found out we were talking about a kiddy pool that was a foot deep. It had been so hot that week that both my wife and I had at times “laid out in the pool” and that is what these “new friends” had heard.

Rumors can run rampant and people can be hurt by unfounded rumors. So what are rumors? Webster defines a rumor as currently circulating story or report of unverified or doubtful truth. [1] One of the synonyms for rumor is gossip and another is innuendo. Rumors spread like wildfire, for fallen human beings love to savor discreditable information about each other, and denials of rumors are not always if ever believed. What then can one do if one finds, like Nehemiah, that malicious rumors are circulating about oneself?[2]

Nehemiah did a number of things. First he strongly denied the rumor and second he asked God to give him the strength to ignore the rumors and stay focused on the task God had given them. He prayed that God would free him and the people he led from the fear that paralyzed from doing the work that God had ordained for them to accomplish. Finally he purposed to leave his reputation in the Lord’s hands. You can check out the story in Nehemiah chapter 6.

I’ve seen the wreckage that unsubstantiated rumors can do to a church and how it can split congregations and destroy lifetime friendships.

What does God’s Word have to say about gossipmongers and rumorers?

13 A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy man keeps a secret.
Proverbs 11:13 (NIV)

28 A perverse man stirs up dissension, and a gossip separates close friends.
Proverbs 16:28 (NIV)

19 A gossip betrays a confidence; so avoid a man who talks too much.
Proverbs 20:19 (NIV)

20 Without wood a fire goes out; without gossip a quarrel dies down.
Proverbs 26:20 (NIV)

22 The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to a man's inmost parts.
Proverbs 26:22 (NIV)

29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips,
Romans 1:29 (NIV)

20 For I am afraid that when I come I may not find you as I want you to be, and you may not find me as you want me to be. I fear that there may be quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, factions, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder.
2 Corinthians 12:20 (NIV)

11 In the same way, their wives are to be women worthy of respect, not malicious talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything.
1 Timothy 3:11 (NIV)

13 Besides, they get into the habit of being idle and going about from house to house. And not only do they become idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying things they ought not to.
1 Timothy 5:13 (NIV)

3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good,
2 Timothy 3:3 (NIV)

3 Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good.
Titus 2:3 (NIV)

10 So if I come, I will call attention to what he is doing, gossiping maliciously about us. Not satisfied with that, he refuses to welcome the brothers. He also stops those who want to do so and puts them out of the church.
3 John 1:10 (NIV)

God hates gossip and slander. Now he still loves the sinner but He wants them to STOP what they are doing and repent.

So what should you do if you hear something that bothers you? Go to the source and check to see if there is any truth in the rumor. A simple conversation can stop rumors on their tracks. Unsubstantiated rumors can prove to be not only untrue but also dangerous. You remember what they say about what assumptions make you…

I assume you know that one!

Pastor Val

[1] Soanes, C., & Stevenson, A. (2004). Concise Oxford English dictionary (11th ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

[2] Packer, J. I. (1995). A passion for faithfulness : Wisdom from the book of Nehemiah. Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books.

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