What is the impact of spreading gossip?
[Gary Petty] There's a story that's been told many different ways over actually hundreds of years. But it always goes something like this. A woman goes into a church office early one morning before the hours usually the pastor is there, but his door opens and a young woman comes out rather disheveled looking. And so she wonders what's going on. A little later in the day she finds out that that young woman and her husband are being separated, possibly getting a divorce. She then concludes, “Wow, something strange is happening.” So she sits down with her friends at lunch and tells them what she saw. They all conclude that probably the pastor was having an affair with this young woman. And so it soon spreads throughout the church that this pastor is having an affair with this young woman.
Well, they find out later that what had actually happened was the woman was very depressed that night and the pastor and his wife had spent the entire night in his office trying to help this woman and counsel her as she was going through this crisis of life. The woman then realizes what she did. She goes to the pastor's office and she sits down and says, “I've spread all these rumors and done all this damage. What can I do?”
And he says, “Well, it's very simple. I want you to take a good feather pillow filled with feathers. Go to the top of a nearby hill. Then I want you to slit it open and scatter those feathers to the wind. Then after you've done that. I want you to go find all of those feathers and pick them up.” And she said, “Well, that's impossible.” He said, “That's right. It's impossible to heal all the damage that's been done sometimes through rumors and gossip.”
It reminds me of what Solomon wrote in Proverbs 16. He says, “An ungodly man digs up evil and it is on his lips like a burning fire. A perverse man sows strife, and a whisperer separates the best of friends” (Proverbs 16:27-28 Proverbs 16:27-28 27 An ungodly man digs up evil: and in his lips there is as a burning fire.
28 A fraudulent man sows strife: and a whisperer separates chief friends.
American King James Version×).
Before you listen or pass on gossip next time, sit down and think about before you do it, “Am I just scattering feathers in the wind?”
That's today's BT Daily .