Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Burning Down The Forest

My husband and I were out on a date once, holding hands in a Chipotle line
when I spotted someone we knew but hadn't seen in awhile
who was looking at me with horror on his face.
Honestly, he looked like he wanted to burn me up.
I urged my husband to go over and say 'hi' while I kept our place in line.
It turns out the man hadn't recognized my husband,
whose hair was significantly changed from our last meeting,
and was sure I was an adulteress.
I wonder what he would have told people about me
if he hadn't been set straight with a tiny bit more information.

Paul said not to accept an accusation against an elder
except on the testimony of two or three witnesses.
Something about that instruction makes it apparent
that the accusations are more numerous than the realities.
And testimony is not repetition.
It doesn't mean if more than one person is gossiping about it, it's valid.
It's two or more sources of eyewitness accounts.

We often hear one person's story, and get angry.
But if we wait for the next side, things become a lot clearer,
and the anger is misplaced.
I've done that myself.
They say with age comes wisdom. (We can always hope so, anyway.)
I've begun stalling judgment when I hear something outrageous.
Often enough, a little more information clears it up.
Sometimes the rumor really does have something to it.
But often, someone 'saw' something that they were completely mistaken in.
Or they heard someone else's report that was mistaken.
Best not to pass that lie on, even if you think it's true.

If you don't have something nice to say,
say it softly in a back room?
Or bite your tongue until it bleeds.
Avoid lighting a fire that burns down a forest if it serves no good purpose.

Did someone tell you something mean about someone else?
Help it die, instead of breathing life into it.

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