“If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” — Jesus (John 8:31-32)
When I was the chaplain for J103 radio in Chattanooga, TN, I would often receive a frantic email from some well-meaning saint concerning something they say to be true but in reality is really a hoax. Here’s a good example of this sort of email. “Atheists are petitioning the FCC to get religious broadcasting banned from American airwaves. An organization has been granted a Federal Hearing on the same subject by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in Washington, DC. Their petition, Number 2493, would ultimately pave the way to stop the reading of the gospel of our Lord and Savior, on the airwaves of America. They got 287,000 signatures to back their stand!” “If this attempt is successful, all Sunday Worship services being broadcast on the radio or by television will be stopped. This group is also campaigning to remove all Christmas programs and Christmas carols from public schools!!”
This sort of story gets forwarded all over Christendom and, more often than not, it’s just not true.
For I am afraid that when I come I may not find you as I want you to be, and you may not find me as you want me to be. I fear that there may be quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, factions, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder. (2Corinthians 12:20)
I believe that Christians should be messengers of truth. Yet all too often Christians are forwarding anything but the truth. We forward lies based on internet gossip. We forward emails based on Urban Legends to our friends and acquaintances and don’t even check it out first to see if it’s true or not. And in many cases we cause undue alarm among the Christian community. I’m sure that you’ll agree with me when I say that this is something that can be harmful to our brothers and sisters and thus displeasing to the Lord.
There are several resources on the internet for Christians that expose these emails for what they are—lies. Here is a good one for checking out the validity of the current gossip. It’s my go to site to check out web gossip to see if it’s true.
Whoever of you loves life and desires to see many good days, keep your tongue from evil and your lips [or your emails] from speaking lies. (Psalms 34:12-13)
We do need to make one another aware of any threats to the Church that may exist, but, please, don’t be a gossip. Don’t have a knee jerk reaction to every forwarded email you receive. We honor the Lord when we check the information contained in it to see if it is actually true before we passed it on to our friends.
“Besides, they get into the habit of being idle and going about from house to house. And not only do they become idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying things they ought not to.” (1Timothy 5:13)
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