Many of the best learned lessons are when we make bad mistakes and learn the hard way. I can remember as though it was yesterday, a mistake I made about two years ago when I repeated some thing that someone had told me before I checked it out. I was talking with a person I know fairly well and he was telling how after church baseball they would crack over a few beers with the minister.
Somehow I misunderstood him to be talking about a minister of the local German Church of God (GCOG) congregation and I repeated what I had been told to some of my church friends at the Restoration without checking it out. I checked with the GCOG minister later to find out to my horror that I was mistaken and somehow I had misunderstood who the person that had told me this was talking about. I apologized and went back to the people I had told and corrected what I had said and apologized to them.
But once you start a rumor, it is not always easy to stop. This minister showed up at my door a few weeks later and let me know someone from the Restoration had told a person in his congregation that he was social drinking. Of course he was not very impressed with this and rightfully so. So to make sure the rumor was stamped out among the Restoration people, I stood up at the end of a Sunday evening meeting and apologized for what I had done and let everyone know there was no truth to the rumor I had started.
I felt very bad for all the problems I had caused. When I went before the Lord in prayer I asked Him to forgive me and help me not to be so simple and to not do something like this again.
This is something that can happen very easily if we are not careful. The Word tell us “the first to plead his case seems right, Until another comes and examines him (Pro 18:7 NASB) – and it is very true.
While their was no real damage done in this case, and as far as I know the rumor was stopped in its tracks by my addressing the whole congregation, not all rumors that are started are so benign or as easy to stop. A good example is the evil rumor that was started about Danny Layne – that is still being repeated years later and I have seen posted on the Internet in a number of places.
Layne had gone to a restaurant with a number of young brothers and there were some gay men there that they had a conversation with. Some how what really happened got changed, either by misunderstanding or on purpose, and the rumor that is being repeated is that Danny had taken a number of the young brothers to eat at a gay bar.
This false rumor is still being going around and Danny told me just a few months ago that he had just receive a call not long ago from someone who was calling to see if it was true.
This rumor has spread so far that it is impossible to stamp out and now Danny Layne must bear the reproach of this false rumor on his ministry. While this man did call to see if it was true, most don’t and just accept what they are told as being true and worse yet, repeat it.
Those that believe what they are told without checking it out first are simple and imprudent (the simple believeth every word: but the prudent man looketh well to his going Pro 14:15). Not only does the Word say they are simple and imprudent, but it says this kind of conduct is folly and shame (He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him Pro 18:13).
Daily I pray and ask God to help me be careful with my words. I have committed to the Lord to not repeat things where I have not checked it out in order to see if they are true first.
It is a grave mistake to start or repeat a rumor about anyone by repeating a matter without checking it out to see if it is true, but it is sinful if you are unwilling to correct it and do all you can to stamp the rumor out. It was very difficult and humbling for me to stand before 200 people and tell them what a foolish and shameful thing I had done, but it was in my heart to stop the rumor I had started in it’s tracks.
I trust this short article can help you to see the seriousness of repeating matters when you don’t know if they are true. If you have done this and have found out that what you said was not true, you need to do whatever you can to stop the rumor you have started or furthered.