Don’t you just hate the rumor mill? In this day and age of everyone carrying a cell phone, having Internet media, instant messages, face time, and all the rest, the rumor mill can run rampant in a matter of hours if not minutes. People’s actions, motivations, and character may be brought into question in an instant and all by people who haven’t got the sense God gave a goose…more-less who know the facts.
Rumors are wicked and I am convinced birthed in the hallways of hell itself. A rumor is never based upon facts. If they were based upon facts, they would be called the facts of the case. Instead they are just a rumor. People start rumors to ruin people. People start rumors to cover their own tracks. And, the one telling the rumor always says something like “lots of people are saying this” or “I heard this from a bunch of other folks”.
When someone says, “These are the facts.” you are immediately able to check the facts with the person who the supposed facts are being spoken about. Therefore you are able to hold the person ‘sharing’ accountable for what they have said. You may also go directly to the person or people who started it and confront them. Rumors on the other hand are based upon hearsay where people can say, “Well that’s just what I heard.” It’s all smoke and mirrors and next to impossible to get the truth.
There is probably not a person reading this who hasn’t been the source of fodder for someone’s juicy little tidbit, substantiated or not. There probably isn’t a person reading this who has not had someone else seek to ‘share’ a rumor with him or her at one time or another.
How are we to handle these fiery darts from hell itself? I came across some great advice from Charles Swindoll and want to share it with you. I have practice these principle for years now. They may not stop the rumor mill, but they will sure stop the individual who you are having to personally deal with at the time.
Charles Swindoll gives four suggestions for silencing rumor-mongers:
1. Identify sources by name. If someone is determined to share information that is damaging or hurtful, request that the source be specifically stated.
2. Support evidence with facts. Do not accept hearsay. Refuse to listen unless honest-to-goodness truth is being communicated. You can tell. Truth is rarely veiled or uncertain. Rumors fade when exposed to the light.
3. Ask the person, “May I quote you?” It’s remarkable how quickly rumor-spreaders can turn four shades of red! Equally remarkable is the speed with which they can backpedal.
4. Openly admit, “I don’t appreciate hearing that.” This approach is for the strong. It might drive a wedge between you and the guilty … but it’s a sure way to halt the regular garbage delivery to your ears.
I’m the kind of guy who likes to use three and four the most. I don’t need people around me who are continually speaking ill of others and you don’t either!