‘THE TELEPHONE GAME’

AT A RECENT BIRTHDAY PARTY FOR MY YOUNGEST GRANDSON, WE PLAYED A GAME CALLED ‘THE TELEPHONE GAME’. ONE WOULD WHISPER IN THE EAR OF THE PERSON NEXT TO THEM A SENTENCE. THE ONE HEARING WOULD THEN WHISPER THE SENTENCE THEY HAD HEARD TO ANOTHER. THIS WOULD REPEAT ITSELF UNTIL ALL AT THE PARTY HAD HEARD AND REPEATED THE SENTENCE TO ANOTHER. THE LAST PERSON THEN REPEATED THE SENTENCE ALOUD AND THE LAUGHTER BROKE OUT. THE SENTENCE AS IT WAS REPEATED WAS HEARD DIFFERENTLY AND RETOLD SO DIFFERENTLY THAT IT HARDLY RESEMBLED THE ORIGINAL SENTENCE.

MANY YEARS AGO, IN A COACHES’ ACCREDITATION CLASS, I PARTICIPATED IN A SIMILAR EXERCISE. IN THE CLASS, IT WAS TO PROVE HOW RUMORS SPREAD AND THEIR FALSE EXAGGERATIONS. AS IN THE KID’S ‘TELEPHONE GAME’, THE CLASS OF 30 COACHES PASSED THE STORY FROM ONE TO ANOTHER. THE FINAL MAN STOOD AND REPEATED WHAT HE THOUGHT HE HAD HEARD. THEN THE MODERATOR READ THE ORIGINAL STATEMENT. THERE WAS ALMOST NOTHING IN COMMON BETWEEN THE TWO STATEMENTS. IT WAS AMAZING HOW THE STATEMENT HAD BEEN ALTERED FROM A REFEREE WARNING A PLAYER TO POLICE BEING CALLED TO EVICT THE PLAYER FROM THE GAME, ALL WITHIN A MATTER OF MINUTES!

THIS HAPPENS IN LIFE EVERYDAY. IT IS NOT A GAME. IT IS GOSSIP. GOSSIP IS POISON…DESTRUCTIVE, FALSE, DAMAGING, EVIL, INSULTING, FABRICATED, AGGRAVATING, CORRUPT, WICKED, LYING POISON. GOSSIP CAN DESTROY FAMILIES, SEND INDIVIDUALS INTO DEEP DEPRESSION, DIVIDE CHURCHES, CAUSE JOB LOSSES, CREATE MISTRUST BETWEEN FRIENDS AND UNWARRANTED DOUBTS AND FALSE SUSPICIONS OF OTHERS.

A GOSSIPING TONGUE BENEFITS NO ONE. GOSSIP HURTS NOT ONLY THE ONE BEING GOSSIPED ABOUT, BUT ALSO THE GOSSIPER AND THE ONE ALLOWING THEMSELVES TO HEAR THE GOSSIP. YOU CAN PASS OFF GOSSIP AS JUST A CONVERSATION, BUT YOU ARE MISLEADING YOURSELF AND OTHERS. GOSSIP IS GOSSIP. FACTS TAKEN OUT OF CONTEXT AND FABRICATIONS EVOLVE INTO DAMAGING LIES WITH NO BASIS OF TRUTH. DO YOU REPEAT THINGS WITHOUT KNOWING IF WHAT YOU WERE TOLD IS FACTUALLY TRUE? SEEK THE TRUTH BEFORE YOU SPEAK.

NEXT TIME YOU PREPARE TO TELL SOMEONE ANYTHING ABOUT ANOTHER PERSON, ASK YOURSELF IF IT IS THE TRUTH…THE WHOLE TRUTH AND NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH. IF SOMEONE WANTS TO TELL YOU SOMETHING ABOUT ANOTHER, TELL THEM YOU DO NOT WANT TO HEAR IT.

STOP GOSSIP BY NOT GIVING IT AN EAR!

“A GOSSIP BETRAYS A CONFIDENCE, BUT A TRUSTWORTHY PERSON KEEPS A SECRET.” PROVERBS 11:13 NIV

“A PERVERSE PERSON STIRS UP CONFLICT, AND A GOSSIP SEPARATES CLOSE FRIENDS.” PROVERBS 16:18 NIV

“A GOSSIP BETRAYS A CONFIDENCE, SO AVOID ANYONE WHO TALKS TOO MUCH.” PROVERBS 20:19 NIV

“A WICKED PERSON LISTENS TO DECEITFUL LIPS; A LIAR PAYS ATTENTION TO A DESTRUCTIVE TONGUE.” PROVERBS 17:4 NIV

“THE TONGUE ALSO IS A FIRE, A WORLD OF EVIL AMONG THE PARTS OF THE BODY. IT CORRUPTS THE WHOLE BODY, SETS THE WHOLE COURSE OF ONE’S LIFE ON FIRE, AND IS ITSELF SET ON FIRE BY HELL…BUT NO HUMAN BEING CAN TAME THE TONGUE. IT IS A RESTLESS EVIL, FULL OF DEADLY POISON.” JAMES 2:6&8 NIV