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Nothing but the Truth

“I heard that she got really mad at her husband.”

“Why did she do that?”

“I don’t know. Maybe he hurt her or something.”

Ah. Stop right there.

We’ve all been a part of conversation—the passing of information from one person to another. And then it goes a little awry. All of a sudden, someone says, “I don’t know,” but then proceeds to fill in information based on an assumption.

No matter what grounds that person’s assumption came from, all the people who heard it begin to take the assumption into consideration. Is it a possibility? Could it be a solution to what isn’t actually known? Could it be true?

From there, people take the assumption and muse on it, mulling over a variety of off-shoot options, and when given the chance and the topic comes up again (or they bring it up), they repeat the assumptions and suggestions, including some of their own.

We know that gossip is the end result of this entire scenario, but I believe Christians are called to address the issue far before it reaches that end result.

Speaking the Truth to Ourselves

The minute someone speaks an assumption or the minute an assumption is formed in our minds about a person or situation we have encountered, we are given a choice to believe truth or believe the assumption. A friend and mentor told me, “‘Assuming’ is believing we have all the parts. The result is reasoning to the wrong conclusions.” Rather, Philippians 4:8 says, “Finally, my brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (emphasis mine). When we focus solely on thinking only what we know to be true, we cannot reason to a wrong conclusion; we can’t make assumptions.

Speaking to Truth to Others

We cannot control what another person says, but we can control what takes place next. When someone else begins to throw assumptions into a conversation or starts to reason to a wrong conclusion, we are called to speak truth. Ephesians 4:25 says, “Therefore, having put away falsehood [assumptions! Things that aren’t true!], let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor.” We cannot promote truth if we stay quiet when someone else is making assumptions. Additional listening to and even encouraging another’s assumptions makes us just as guilty of not living according to truth as the person speaking. If we’re not part of the problem or the solution, we are gossiping or slandering. Similarly, if we’re sharing information with someone who is not part of the problem or the solution, we are gossiping or slandering.

Simply saying, “I don’t think we have enough information to make a statement like that,” or “We don’t know that that is true” can help to stop assumptions and the formulation of gossip. Being willing to go to any party involved and encouraging others to do the same allows us to get all the information, rather than one-sided (often biased) information. Rather than picking sides, we need to focus instead on truth and righteousness, “hearing the whole matter” before we come to a conclusion (Proverbs 18:13).

Christians must be willing to stand up and discern what is going on around them. We must reject proud claims that we can understand others’ motives and thereby deduce circumstances accordingly. We must choose to not only believe truth, but promote and encourage others to believe and speak truth in every conversation we have.

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