Rumor Has It

Josh WannerDevotions

The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for false testimony against Jesus so that they could put him to death. Matthew 26:59

There’s a lot of chatter going on related to current events. There’s chatter over wearing masks. Do they help. Do they make things worse? Over politicians. Is he genuine. Did she just say that?

Even in social concerns, there is chatter. What should be done for social reform. Should statues come down. Did a certain individual bring it upon him/herself to be treated that way, or was it because of their skin color.

And media outlets continue to crank out reports that fit their narrative. Memes and Tweets regurgitate shared sentiments. Often times these are simply to throw barbed jabs at each other. And these rumors don’t do anything to bring a solution to all what ails our society.

In fact, they throw in a lot of mistruths, poor representation of facts (both sided of these rumors do it!). Some of these are outright lies. Just to harm or discredit someone else.

How have we responded? I’m on Facebook. I have gotten into good discussions about things. Some have moved into the realm of arguments. Oops! How do we go on from there? It is so easy to let our emotions become overly charged. And then we resort to ad hominem statements. And before we know it…we have hurt relationships.

Thank God that He has given us something we can use to guide us in our conversations! How we talk to each other. And how to talk about each other. Just about any topic, too.

Yup! You guessed it. The 8th Commandment. We read in Exodus 20:16 “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.”

In the original language, what we see is that this encompasses more than just lying. It’s talking in a deceptive way about your neighbor. We can even speak truthfully about someone or a subject, but we can still use it to defame and cause angst and hurt against another. We would then not be seeking to honor a person. We would be seeking to spread rumors.

So there are two things we can do. First, we could speak deceptively, to harm someone’s reputation. Or two, speak well of him in all things.

You’re probably like me. We don’t want people to speak ill of us. We want to hear golden words about ourselves. Then we turn around and not speak the same of another? It’s kind of unfortunate, selfish. Sinful

And this is something I have to repent of, too!

Martin Luther encourages us when it comes to deceptive speaking, that even of things we know in truth, we shouldn’t speak of them. Or even give a time of day to them. He tells us we should “turn your ears [and mouth] into a grave and cover it.” That’s sound advice!

So what do we do? Just like Martin also adds, “And it is especially an excellent and noble virtue for one always to explain advantageously and put the best construction upon all he may hear of his neighbor.” How can we do that in our emotionally charged world where we are so quick to judge and to participate in being vicious to others?

First we start by repenting. We turn away from such things. We seek God’s forgiveness. And then we live according to the Gospel filled life of speaking well of everyone.

Lord Jesus, forgive me for using my tongue to hurt someone. Guide me by Your Spirit to speak of only edifying things that help promote the well-being of my neighbor. I want to do better. Amen.

Written by: Pastor Bartholomew