A rumor is a social cancer that is difficult to contain and it rots the brains of many. So many people find rumors enjoyable that they could grow to a very dangerous proportion.

In his New Year 2014 resolutions list, Pope Francis listed gossip as pastime or hobby of many and considered it as one of the most evil activities. The Catholic leader denounces gossip as “murder.” He feels so strongly about it that in less than a year as pontiff, Pope Francis has preached against gossip in at least six different instances.

He said that when we gossip, we are doing what Judas did and begin to tear the other person to pieces; that every time we judge our brothers in our hearts or worse, when we speak badly of them with others, we are murdering Christians; and there is no such thing as innocent slander.

Lord, keep Your arms around my shoulder and Your hand over my mouth.

Usually the victim of rumor does not have the chance to explain himself. All the whispers are behind his back and he is usually left with no means of clearing his name for everyone seems to crave for a chance to add more fuel to the fires of gossip.

The whispers could become so loud sometimes that we think we will drown in them. It is passed on and on until some brave soul questions its validity; that brave soul refuses to bite the apple nor let the apple eat him and expose the truth.

Many have fallen by the edge of the sword but not as many as by the tongue.

Truth is not exciting enough to many people and they look after on the character, lives and reputation of their neighbors for amusement. These offensive behaviors (rumors, gossiping or backbiting) are usually rooted out of envy/jealousy, resentment, vengeance, struggle for power and recognition or out of boredom. The desire to get ahead, to do better than others, to have others look up to them, or at least to make it hard for others to look down on them, are usually the main reasons for these disgusting behaviors. 

These people rarely blame themselves but others, for their incoherent and confused life. They are unhappy, lack spirituality; have no warmth to give at home, work, church, play, nor love.  They complain all the time and only think what is good for them. They use other people; they are afraid to use themselves up and in desperation try to destroy others like the old man in the following narrative.

Once an old man spread rumors that his neighbor was a thief. As a result, the young man was arrested. Days later the young man was proven innocent. After being released he sued the old man for wrongly accusing him.

In the court the old man told the judge: “They were just comments, didn’t harm anyone.” The judge told the old man: “Write all the things you said about him on a piece of paper. Cut them up and on the way home, throw the pieces of paper out. Tomorrow, come back to hear the sentence."

A boomerang returns back to the person who throws it. But first, while moving in a circle, it hits its target. So does gossip.― Vera Nazarian

Next day, the judge told the old man: "Before receiving the sentence, you will have to go out and gather all the pieces of paper that you threw out yesterday."

The old man said: "I can't do that! The wind spread them and I won't know where to find them."

The judge then replied, "The same way, simple comments may destroy the honor of a man to such an extent that one is not able to fix it. If you can't speak well of someone, rather don't say anything."

Some people like to think the worst. They like to have hushed gossip sessions and point their fingers at someone's activities or problems that are more obvious than their own. They would say bad things about others, because it is the only way their insignificant self can feel better than others. 

Words have no wings but they can fly a thousand miles and once spoken can never be recalled. Let us all be masters of our mouths, so that we won't be slaves of our words.

Related page: Similarities Between Gossip and Rumor

By Tim Pedrosa

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A good word will spread in the grapevine, bringing forth clusters of grapes and the benevolent of wine; a bad word will spread withering the vines, and choke the potential grapes.― Anthony Liccione