Hurtful rumors

Published 10:34 pm Thursday, May 10, 2018

Norm Fields
Minister, Church of Christ Northside

Rumor is defined as, “talk or opinion widely disseminated with no discernible source” (Webster’s). So it is spreading something around that has no basis in truth. In other words, it is something that is just made up about someone or something that isn’t true. It is usually motivated by ill-will toward the subject of the rumor.

Rumors can be very hurtful and damaging. When a person has ill-will toward another person and starts a malicious rumor about them, they are purposely trying to hurt that person. Another definition of “rumor” is something we see far too frequently in our current society. That is, “a statement or report current without known authority for its truth” (Webster’s). 

Just about every day we see extremely hurtful words or statement being made about another that really has no basis in truth whatsoever. The charge of “racism” is extremely damaging. It ends careers and destroys relationships. Rightfully so, if truthful. The problem, though, is that just about everything and anything is called “racist” by those who purposely want to cause harm. 

Just because someone feels slighted in some way doesn’t mean it was motivated by racism. Such a damaging charge should never be made without very clear evidence to its truthfulness. Racism is the belief that a person’s race is the primary factor for the kind of person they are. It is specific and can be clearly demonstrated. It is also absolutely wrong and ignorant. But to charge someone with racism just because you don’t like something is to be guilty of spreading a hurtful and damaging rumor. It is malicious and sinful.

Sometimes hurtful rumors are motivated by envy. One person is envious of the success of another person, so they start a hurtful rumor about them to damage their success. 

The Bible is very clear about the way should speak of others. Everything involved in rumors is wrong, according to the Bible. Backbiting (Proverbs 25:24), gossips and busybodies (1 Timothy 5:13), slander (Proverbs 10:18), malicious words (3 John 10), strife and envy (Romans 13:13; 1 Corinthians 3:3). On top of all this, starting and/or spreading hurtful rumors is flat out lying. (Colossians 3:9).

If I feel slighted by another person, the way to deal with that is not trying to hurt them with a malicious rumor. That would be retaliation — returning evil for evil (Romans 12:17-21). The right thing to do would be to go to that person directly and try to clear things up (Matthew 13:15-17). That’s what I’ll do if I actually care about the other person the way I’m supposed to. I will try to help them, not hurt them. 

What we need is more open and honest communication.