Deuteronomy 13:12-15 (New Revised Standard Version)
If you hear it said about one of the towns that the Lord your God is giving you to live in, that scoundrels from among you have gone out and led the inhabitants of the town astray, saying, “Let us go and worship other gods,” whom you have not known, then you shall inquire and make a thorough investigation. If the charge is established that such an abhorrent thing has been done among you, you shall put the inhabitants of that town to the sword, utterly destroying it and everything in it—even putting its livestock to the sword.
A rumor is an unsubstantiated report arising from an uncertain source that is circulated informally, often in whispers from person to person.
Already, it sounds pretty shaky.
Add to that God’s warning not to act on a rumor until we have thoroughly investigated its validity, and we wonder how we allow rumors to exercise such powerful influence over our perceptions of people and events. Yet how many times have we put to the sword our good opinion of someone or our trust in a relationship on the strength of something we heard or we thought we understood without looking deeper?
Rumors are dangerous. Like wildfire, they can scorch those who handle them, destroy reputations, escalate conflict, and reduce relationships to ashes.
FATHER, I confess to my fascination with rumors. Not only have I passed along rumors I’ve heard, but I have also started some myself. I have judged others unfairly because I was either too lazy or too biased to verify a circulating story. Where I have hurt others, help me to make amends. Give me grace to stop my ears against idle gossip and my tongue against speaking half-truths and self-serving opinions.
Proverbs 6:16-19; James 3:5-6
Have you ever been the victim of a rumor? In what ways did you suffer?