Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Eavesdropping from Another World

In C.S. Lewis's The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, one of the Chronicles of Narnia, Lucy got the chance to listen in on the conversation of a friend by using a magic spell. When Lucy used the spell, she witnessed her friend say something mean about Lucy in a moment of weakness, when the friend was pressured by others. Lucy found out from Aslan, the Lion who created and ruled that fictional world, that her friend didn't mean it. But Lucy would never be able to look at her friend the same way because she heard something she wasn't supposed to hear and it sank down into her heart.

The author of Proverbs warned us of a similar dynamic with regards to rumors. Proverbs 26:22 tells us, "Rumors are dainty morsels that sink deep into one’s heart" (NLT).  Rumors are subtle and dangerous things that can sink into our hearts and affect the way we see and think about people, whether we later find out they are false or not. When we listen to rumors they make changes within us that we can never fully undo because, like dainty morsels, we digest them and they become a part of us. We may eventually mitigate most of the damage, but our minds will never be quite the same.

But, I can hear you say, how do I avoid rumors? People just tell me the rumors! I don't have any control over that! And in response, I would ask how many times you have told the rumor-sharer that you are not interested in hearing the rumors? How often do you reward the efforts of the rumor-monger by listening raptly to what they have to say? If we choose not to listen, to discourage the rumor-bearer, letting them know that we don't want to hear the rumors, eventually they will come to us less and less because rumors just aren't as much fun when no one listens.

Don't let rumors sink into your heart. Discourage those who would share them with you. Never let them just happen.

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