Early in my college career, I was adopted into a group of friends that had attended the same high school. They hung out at night and on the weekends, sometimes traveling home or visiting friends at nearby universities. Sometimes those friends came to visit as well.
One weekend a guy named Tom came in from a rival school. I didn’t talk to him because I didn’t find him particularly attractive (physically or personality-wise). I didn’t know it at the time, but he claimed to have met me before. In fact, he claimed that I was what the Bible would refer to as a “promiscuous woman.” Apparently, I made the woman at the well look like a saint.
Of course, I didn’t find this out until much later. Not until my friend Amy told me what he’d said about me. By then, the damage had been done. I had an undeserved reputation.
But here’s the thing: it didn’t bother me. If people wanted to believe untrue things about me, that was their problem, not mine. I laughed, shrugged it off, and went about my business.
But it got me thinking about rumors.
The Bible says that rumors are dainty morsels that sink into someone’s heart. And that is so true. How often do you hear rumors about someone famous or even someone you know? Juicy tidbits that are so surprising and you have to share them with others. It’s like that scandalized feeling is contagious. Once you receive it, you want to give it to others.
Rumors are insidious, though. I spent part of my life as a manager, and having people speculate about possible changes and their outcomes is dangerous. Mishandled, and you end up with a group of very disgruntled employees.
Rumors surrounding people are worse. I know girls who would be crushed if someone claimed such scurrilous lies about them. And college is very different than junior high and high school. If those types of comments were made about a younger girl… well, that’s the sort of things TV specials and popular YA lit are made from.
The worst things about rumors are that once you’ve heard them, you can’t UNhear them. They stick like glue (sinking deeper into one’s heart). Take celebrity gossip. There was a vicious rumor about Richard Gere around the time Pretty Woman came out. I still can’t hear his name or see a gerbil without thinking of the rumor. Sheesh. Scarred for life.
Therefore, go and do no evil. Think about what you’re going to say before you say it. Is it kind? Is it true? Is it necessary? If not, stuff a fortune cookie in your mouth and chew until you think of something better to say.
Now you… how have rumors impacted your life or the lives of those around you?
Lisa Godfrees is on the hunt for the ever elusive-jackalope. She probably would have found one by now if she ever got up from her desk and ventured outside. When she’s not reading, writing, or mommying, she amuses herself by learning to draw. She’d be tickled turquoise if you’d connect with her on #Twitter or Facebook.
Your question is tricky to answer without repeating the rumor! Two came to mind immediately. The first, very similar to yours. I also laughed it off until I found out my brother got in a fight defending my honor!
The second could have had far more serious repercussions to my career. Thankfully, my new principal confronted me (in an apologetic manner) on what she had heard, and we were able to get to the truth of the matter.
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Richard Gere and Gerbils… resisting urge to find out whatever that rumor was… 😉
It took me a while to think of any way rumors have affected my life and the only one I can specifically think of affected my brother more than me personally. A family in our homeschool group went off the deep end right around the time I finished high school and was heading to college. I’m not sure what all happened to them but they dropped out of our church, lashed out at all their friends, cut themselves off from everyone – it was a bizarre, sad mess. Right around that time, one of my brothers really wanted to go to public school. He was just going into 10th grade and my parents decided to let him make that decision. Well, at some point during that year, that family reported ours to social services (that’s a rumor that could have been bad but was averted). They have to follow up on any reports, of course, but we were immediately cleared and the only result from the investigation was it seemed my brother was feeling like “everyone was out to get him.” They followed it further and it turned out that the father of that family, who was a teacher at the high school, had spread rumors that my brother was a troublemaker. So he’d been harassed and hassled by every adult figure in the school as they had all prejudged him before he even set foot on campus. Social services had to intervene there, instead. He stuck it through until the end of the year and then switched back to homeschooling. But that was the year he began to distance himself from our family and, even worse, from Christ. Because of that, our family is still dealing the ramifications of that entire mess, to this day.