Proverbs 26:20 – Where no wood is, there the fire goeth out; so where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth (KJV)
A young man once cleared a small area in a forest, erected a small house and a barn, and, together with his bride, began a new life in humble and lowly fashion. On a certain occasion, the young man became aware of a pungent odour of smoke, and was certain that a forest fire was moving towards his newly-acquired domain. Without determining how intense the fire was, or its distance from the home, he decided to backfire the area about his buildings — not knowing that a backfire should be started next to a road, a stream or some recently ploughed land. His fire spread in all directions and soon a frantic call for help invited several of his neighbours. After several hours of hard labour, his buildings were saved, but several acres of forest and many cords of stove wood were destroyed.
This serves as an acceptable illustration of what happens when a bit of gossip is injudiciously dropped in an audience that may find talebearing a legal hobby. Worst of all, usually the original story is exposed to constant alterations (and, in most cases, to the further negative extreme) as the talebearing propagators multiply, meeting certain interests directed against the one about whom the original story was formulated.
In John 17:11, Jesus — the founder of the church — prays for unity among the church He established. The apostles Paul, Peter, John, and others further emphasized unity among believers.
Floating rumours are often the destroyers of unity among fellows, for the ultimate result of talebearing is enmity between neighbours and friends. If God's church is to prevail in the raging spiritual storms and to carry out the mission assigned to it by its founder and master, we must develop a culture of speaking positively about our fellow brethren, never forgetting that each of us is only human, subject to any sort of shortcoming.
Fellow travellers, let's disdain becoming co-workers with Lucifer, whose mission is to disunite God's very own. If strife and scandals multiply amongst the chosen race, then Satan's mission will progress. Instead, let's pray and labour for the unity that existed in the apostolic church, or, better still, that exists between the Father, the Son and the Spirit. Let us remember that "Together we'll stand; divided we'll fall."
Prayer: Lord, we ask for your guidance on our Christian journey. Let us stay in unity so that your work may progress through us. In Jesus' name. Amen.