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.