Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Gossip Mill (05/08/14)
TITLE: Falsely Accused
By Edmond Ng
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Caitlin had always been happy at school with many friends. But when she was 9, Jenna, a classmate who was jealous of Caitlin's popularity, began waging a campaign to turn Caitlin's friends against her. Jenna took a girl’s purse and claimed Caitlin had stolen it. She falsely confided to another that Caitlin had been talking behind her back. Jenna convinced Caitlin's friends that Caitlin was a ‘loser’ because she was neither slim nor fashion-conscious. Consequently, they stopped inviting Caitlin to sleepovers.
The story of Caitlin was told by Elizabeth Hartley-Brewer in her article ‘Surviving the Rumor Mill’ at Scholastic.com. Hartley said it is important not to underestimate the havoc reported rumors or gossip could wreak, especially those in their tween years—however unlikely, untrue or trivial they may seem. Fortunately for Caitlin, she was able to make new and more reliable friends.
“Tweens are trying to make their mark, and there is often a constant undercurrent of competition as they attempt to be top dog,” Hartley wrote. “It's no secret that children can be mean, especially those whose own painful experiences make them more inclined to strike out at others.”
The statement made by Hartley, in actuality, applies to people of all ages. During times of uncertainty, the gossip mill turns faster than ever in environments beyond the schools and campuses to workplaces, businesses and even within the church, often contributing to lower productivity and affecting relationships.
When Jesus was seized and led to the high priest where the scribes and the elders were gathered, the whole Council kept trying to obtain false testimony against Jesus so they could put Him to death. Even though many false witnesses came forward, they did not find any. Finally, two men came forward and said, “This man stated, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God and to rebuild it in three days.’ ” The high priest then said to Jesus, “Do You not answer? What is it that these men are testifying against You?” But Jesus kept silent (Matthew 26:57-64).
Keeping silent is a good way to respond when we are not ready or unable to defend ourselves. The word of God promises whatever is hidden will be revealed, so we need not fret but to take it in stride (Matthew 10:26; Mark 4:22; Luke 8:17; 12:2). Like Caitlin, we can make new and more reliable friends.
Are we falsely accused by others for something we did not do or are we among those who talk behind people’s back and spread rumors or gossips about others? Do we make attempts when falsely accused to find out why our accuser is doing it? Could our accuser’s past or painful experiences be an opening for us to understand and help? Are we the accused or the accuser?
Talking behind people’s back so as to position ourselves above others or to hide our own misgivings is wrong. Spreading rumors and premeditating steps to mislead others are the ways of the devil, and we have been warned that by this the children of God and the children of the devil are differentiated. Anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God and the one who practices sin is of the devil. Instead of going about revealing secrets or slandering others, therefore, let us stay clear from gossip and those who talk too much (1 John 3:8-10; Proverbs 20:19; Leviticus 19:16).
<i>Dear Lord, forgive us for sometimes badmouthing the people we know or our competitors. Help us tame our tongue that we might not accuse others falsely but speak well of them in truth. Keep us calm when we are falsely accused so we might not fret but take in stride to put our complete trust in You. We know nothing concealed or untrue will not be revealed or hidden that will not be made known. So guide us when we face such situations to know when to remain silent and when to reach out. Keep us safe and grant us strength that in Your name we will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.</i>
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