The fast last Sabbath went well here in our area and, for our family, was very encouraging! A good friend told me that Mr. Ames’ sermon in Charlotte was “exceptionally moving” and that the Sabbath was very uplifting. The sermon in our own area was by me, so I will reserve judgment. :)
In other news, where do rumors come from? On Facebook a couple of people mentioned to me some of the things that they had seen the usual suspects saying on the Internet (the usual suspects being the many folks who hate the Church, the growing collection of Self-Appointed Ones, habitual rumormongers, etc.). That the rumors exist isn’t surprising. There are always rumors, and there are always those who benefit, personally or professionally, from tearing others down, and we certainly have our own collection of detractors who revolve around us like nagging planets orbiting a sun that irritates them by the very fact that it exists—decrying our existence, yet continually choosing to define themselves in terms of our existence.
The internet really is full of ninnies. Let the buyer beware!
Why some come up with or spread rumors is not hard to figure out. For some it is out of simple hatred. For some it is out of insecurity, since tearing certain others down makes them feel better about themselves. For some it is sadly the only way they can interact with others. For some the motivation is bitterness and frustrated self-ambition. For some it is gullibility, pure or impure (pure: they believe all things too readily; impure: they believe something readily and without justification because it fits their preconceived notions or what they want to be true). And, I suppose, for some it is just because their mom and dad didn’t teach them better. Regardless, the Bible condemns it all pretty harshly. (Just search for terms related to talebearing, gossip, etc. It isn’t pretty.)
And the deceptive self-justifications for spreading rumors are also not hard to figure out. Some imagine that it is “news” and they are simply “reporting.” Some believe that if two people say it, it must be true (they should divide God’s Word more accurately: e.g., Deut. 19:18-19). Some believe that as long as they are willing to correct it later, they are free to write whatever they want about anyone. Some are so deluded by their desire to harm others that they can’t see the emptiness behind their claim and actually believe it to be concrete and true (though, even then, broadcasting it raises other issues). Some believe that if they cowardly qualify what they say, by prefacing it, for instance, with something like “Though I didn’t say it, one comment I saw/heard/read was…” as if that absolves them of responsibility before God for publicly spreading gossip and bearing tales (such a one is not exactly paragon of having a “love of the truth”). And some just don’t care and need no justification. Biblical principles don’t mean anything to them, so everything is up for grabs and malice is free to flow like a river, regardless of whether or not the truth drowns in the resulting deluge.
None of this is surprising. Again: ninnies.
But concerning the things my Facebook correspondents mentioned, the thing that really “impresses” me is how completely and utterly unfounded and just plain false the rumors are. I mean, really: no truth to them whatsoever. Of all that have come to my attention, every single one is completely devoid of even the tiniest element of truth. Really. None. Zip. Zero. Zilch. Nada. Nichts. Niente. Rien. Không. Nenio. Pagh.
(Bonus points, by the way, for identifying each of those languages.)
Really. I know it’s weird, and I’m no one important, but I’ve been in an amazing position to see these things if they were true. (STOP! Before I proceed, let me say that I hate name-dropping like some in the past have so annoyingly done to give their comments an air of authority they didn’t have. Yes, it made my skin crawl, too. So please let me speak as a fool here for a moment…) For years, now, since being added to the telecast I’ve been blessed to get to spend personal time with Mr. Meredith and the evangelists and administrators in their offices, meetings, and homes–not only in formal discussions but also in private and unguarded conversations, as well. I’m on the Council of Elders and communicate regularly and frankly with several others of the Council’s membership. I spend time with folks at all levels at HQ—eating and working together, laughing and crying together, being serious and being silly together… If there is anything lurking around that was truly as dire as those who hate the Church seem to be hoping for, some vast scandal or conspiracy or whatever, shouldn’t I have seen something? At least a hint? A whiff? A single whispered word? A tiny crumb on the floor? A mote or molecule of indication or implication—at least on the subatomic level?
Instead: None. Zip. Zero. Zil… Well, I’ve already been through that list, right?
So, all of that said, what it really comes down to for me—the thing that I truly wonder about and find fascinating—is where rumormongers’ ideas actually come from. With none of it grounded in any sort of reality, all that is left is fantasy. So where do the fantasies come from?
There was a time—a long time ago, now—when I used to naïvely believe no one would just make stuff up, let alone actually come to passionately believe that what they, themselves, have made up is really true. But the reality of Jeremiah 17:9 and Ecclesiastes 9:3 has long since settled into my experience of humanity, including, frankly, what I find in myself in self-examination. We human beings really are that messed up.
And when you throw in an ounce of bitterness and malice or a dash of selfish-ambition—maybe a pinch of delusions of grandeur—it is amazing what one can create in the devil’s mixing bowl. And, be assured, as the head chef Satan is always hanging around the kitchen assisting his sous-chefs and making sure that they are on task. It’s sad, true, that so many are willing to work in his kitchen. Sadder, still, that some of them actually believe they are somehow pleasing God as they spread their accusations instead of pleasing their real master who is the accuser of the brethren (Rev. 12:10).
How would they feel if they realized that while the devil is accusing the brethren, night and day, before God as Revelation describes, God could simply look over the devil’s shoulder and see them on earth doing exactly the same thing? Can they imagine what such a sight would look like to the One they claim as Father? Can they imagine how it might make Him feel? Does it even cross their minds? Anyway, I got caught up in my kitchen analogy (did you like it?) and got off track. Let me return!
Having watched rumormongers at their work for years and years, now, nothing completely surprises me anymore, I think, and the virtually unbounded creativity of the self-deceving human heart truly is mind-boggling.
But, as this post has demonstrated, that doesn’t prevent me from way-too-verbosely pondering the question of where people get such outrageously false delusions. How do they come up with such complete junk? From whence to internet ninnies get their passionately-believed-yet-utterly-baseless fantasies?
As I was subjecting my poor Beautiful Wife to such way-too-verbose ponderings recently, she kindly listened for a while before turning, grabbing her iPhone off the dresser, opening up her Bible app, turning quickly to a passage, handing it to me, and saying, “That’s where they come from.”
The passage? 2 Chronicles 18:20-21.
“Then a spirit came forward and stood before the LORD, and said, ‘I will persuade him.’ The LORD said to him, ‘In what way?’ So he said, ‘I will go out and be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.’ And the LORD said, ‘You shall persuade him and also prevail; go out and do so.’”
As usual, my Beautiful Wife keeps it simple and truthful. :)