Thursday, November 01, 2012

Nasty Rumors & Forgiveness

Sometimes it's so hard NOT to defend yourself when you find out that there are rumors flying everywhere about your family.  It makes my heart beat fast, my stomach drop.  Mostly, it breaks my heart.  Why is it that people will spend more time talking about you on the phone than actually just calling to ask?  It's this easy.  Ring, ring, "Hello?  Yes?  Is this Virginia?  Oh hi.  Well, I just have something I've been wondering.  I heard a rumor and it's been bugging me.  Yeah, I know it's not really none of my business but... is your large family on welfare?  No?  Okay, sorry.  I guess maybe I should have not been so busy worrying about other people.  What?  Did I tell other people about that rumor?  Wellllll, yeah.  Sorry about that.  Oh, just one other question, there is this rumor going around that you got your house through Habitat for Humanity?  No?  Well, then how did you get it?  Ohhhh... you bought it.  So you didn't get it for free?  Yeah, I kind of assumed that since you have a lot of kids you probably couldn't afford it.  Yeah, I accidentally... um... sort of spread that rumor too.  Alright, sorry for causing so much trouble."  Click.

Too late. 

Think of it this way. If you decided to walk up a very tall building with a pillowcase full of feathers, what would happen if when you get to the top you dumped them all out?  Those feathers (rumors) will go everywhere.  How do you then undo the damage?  It's about as easy as going around town and trying to find all those feathers.  Almost impossible.  If it's not a rumor that is uplifting or praising, then it probably should be kept under wraps.  When you assume and then spread these rumors, even though they aren't true, you've now caused them to wear a jacket of your lies wherever they go.  Then they are wondering why people are giving them dirty looks or whispering. 

There are two main things I teach my kids.  First of all, love God with all your heart, mind, and strength.  Second of all, treat others the way you want to be treated.  If it hurts someone to spread rumors about them, whether or not they are true, we don't do it.  IF someone tells you something in confidence and says, "Hey, this is between me and you only," unless that person is in danger, it's not a good idea to tell others. Would we want someone doing that to us?  No.  I know it's nice to feel important, but that's not the way to do it.

*A gossip goes around telling secrets, but those who are trustworthy can keep a confidence. -Proverbs 11:13

I know that it can make ourselves feel better by making others look bad but it's definitely not treating others the way we want to be treated.  Unfortunately, kids can be put in the spotlight. My kids had to hear a lecture from a woman recently that it's just not good to be having so many kids.  Instead of getting angry and talking bad about that person, the next morning in bible study with the kids we discussed it, prayed for that person, then talked about what the bible says about it.  I can't put my head in the sand, my kids hear these cut downs and comments so I have to counteract them with the bible.  Let God be true and every man a liar. 

We will pray for our enemies and do good to those that do harm.  I have to be an example to my kids.  If I don't want them to be talebearers then I too can't be a talebearer.  It's not a Christ like quality so we need to stay far from it. 

*He who goes about as a slanderer reveals secrets, Therefore do not associate with a gossip. -Proverbs 20:19

In recent events I've had some nasty rumors flying around about my family but I can't stop that.  I've decided that if God has forgiven me then I NEED to forgive them.  Although I've recently had to cut off some relationships that was bringing my family down, that doesn't mean I can carry a bad attitude around and not say hi to that person if I'm passing by.  I also learned that forgiveness doesn't mean you forgive ONLY if they say sorry. I have to forgive before they do and they may NEVER say sorry.  Being kind to someone doesn't mean I'm befriending them, hanging out with them, and being buddy, buddy.  It just means I am treating them the way I want to be treated. 

The funny thing is in our morning bible study with our kids we are studying the character quality Forgiveness for the whole month.  I know I need this study more than anyone in the family.  While I am teaching my kids and sharing scripture, it has been ministering to my own heart.  What a healing balm to the heart true forgiveness is.  How do we forgive and forget?  Well, it's impossible to forget but when you forgive someone, it means to never bring those sins they committed up in conversation again.  It's done.  Does that mean you have to hang out with them?  No.  But trust me, unforgiveness is not only bad for the heart, but God can't forgive us of our sins (and we've committed many) if we can't forgive others. 

*But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions. -Matthew 6:15
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