Once upon a time an old man spread rumors that his neighbor was a thief. As a result, the young man was arrested. Days later the young man was proven innocent. After been released he sued the old man for wrongly accusing him.
In court the old man told the Judge: 'They were just comments, didn't harm anyone..'
The judge, before passing sentence on the case, told the old man: 'Write all the things you said about him on a piece of paper. Cut them up and on the way home, throw the pieces of paper out. Tomorrow, come back to hear the sentence.'
The next day, the judge told the old man: 'Before receiving the sentence, you will have to go out and gather all the pieces of paper that you threw out yesterday.' The old man said: 'I can't do that! The wind spread them and I won't know where to find them.'
The judge then replied: 'The same way, simple comments may destroy the honor of a man to such an extent that one is not able to fix it. If you can't speak well of someone, rather don't say anything. 'Let's all be masters of our mouths, so that we won't be slaves of our words.'
I have read the above story a few times... it's quoted on various websites... but have never seen an author associated with it. So, I do apologize for not giving credit.
I really love that story though. It is so true. Gossip is something most of us do, often unintentionally. We see something or hear something or believe something to be true, and feel the need to tell another person. But we don't see the danger in what we're doing. It's only comments. How bad can that be?
And yet throughout scripture, we are told time and again that it is bad. God tells us repeatedly in his Word to avoid gossip and slander. These are sinful behaviors. And as most of us have experienced in our own lives, they are harmful. They ruin reputations, cause pain, and ruin relationships.
Today's Lenten sacrifice:
Give up spreading rumors. Give up listening to rumors.
The only time you should be talking about another person is in a way that will build up that person. Let's all work harder at spreading love rather than spreading rumors.
May the God of all truth guard our tongues this day and always.