Stop spreading false rumours
By Tope Banso
“But the other men replied, ‘Those people are much too strong for us.’ Then they started spreading rumors and saying, ‘We won’t be able to grow anything in that soil. And the people are like giants. In fact, we saw the Nephilim who are the ancestors of the Anakim. They were so big that we felt as small as grasshoppers” (Numbers 13:31-33 Contemporary English Version).
Research has found that people spread rumours for six reasons. These are, when there is uncertainty, when they feel anxiety, when the information is important, when they believe the information, when it helps their self-image and when it helps their social status (socialpyschonline.com).
A rumour is defined as a piece of information, or a story that people talk about, but may not be true (The Oxford Learner’s Dictionary). Rumours are unverified or unconfirmed information, which may or may not be true.
Rumours are powerful because, many times, people tend to believe and act on them, even when they’re not true. Acting on an untrue piece of information or a story has consequences. I am concerned, in this message, about false rumours – untrue rumours.
False rumours have consequences upon individuals, communities, organizations, governments, and even nations. Don’t start or spread false rumours about yourself, anyone, organization or government, either through the words of mouth or writing via letters, sms or posts in the social media. Somebody may have started it, but you don’t have to spread what you’re not sure is true.
The Bible describes the Church of the living God as the pillar and ground of the truth (1 Timothy 3:15). That’s not talking about a building. The Church is the people – those who are called out of the world, Christians. It’s a sin for a Christian to spread false rumours. All liars shall have their part in the lake, which burns with fire and brimstone (Revelations 21:8).
A false rumour is a bad report. When you say what is contrary to the Word of God, about yourself or others, you’re spreading false rumours! When you say what the Word of God has not said about you, your family, etc, you’re spreading false rumours!
In Numbers 13, the ten spies came back from exploring the land of Canaan with a bad report. This was contrary to the promise of God that He was giving the land to the Israelites (verse 1). These tribal leaders started spreading rumours, but Caleb and Joshua didn’t join them.
Verses 31-33 say, “But the other men replied, ‘Those people are much too strong for us.’ Then they started spreading rumors and saying, ‘We won’t be able to grow anything in that soil. And the people are like giants. In fact, we saw the Nephilim who are the ancestors of the Anakim. They were so big that we felt as small as grasshoppers” (Contemporary English Version).
That was after 40 days of spying the land. They said the land was flowing with milk and honey (verse 27). But they began to give negative details that the inhabitants were strong, their cities were fortified and very large, and the descendants of the giant Anak were there (verses 28-29).
Caleb tried to calm down the crowd. He told them that they should go and take the land because they could. But the other spies, excluding Joshua, started spreading false rumours – a bad report – which discouraged the people. They wept, complained and wished they had died in Egypt or in the desert. They wondered why the LORD was bringing them to the land of Canaan to fall by the sword and their wives and children would be taken away. They said they would be better off going back to Egypt, and wanted to select a leader and return (Numbers 14:1-4).
However, Joshua and Caleb told the people they should go and possess the land. He said God would give it to them if they obeyed Him. But the people talked about stoning Moses and Aaron (verses 6-10). The false rumours cost the Israelites forty years of wandering in the wilderness. All of them, 20 years upward, except Joshua and Caleb, perished in the wilderness (verses 33-34).
Don’t spread false rumours; don’t believe or act on them. These spies said the land they explored devoured its inhabitants (verse 32). But they met people there! Yes, there were giants in the land, but they never called the spies grasshoppers! They called themselves so. Even if that were true, the giants were not bigger than their God. Isaiah 40:22 says of God, “It is He who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers” (New King James Version). These inhabitants include the giants! These spies didn’t have to discourage other Israelites with their false rumours.
Don’t start or spread false rumours. David said, “I have heard the many rumors about me, and I am surrounded by terror”(Psalm 31:13 New Living Translation). That’s what false rumours do. It could surround you and your hearers or readers with terror. That’s why Mark 13:7 says about the signs of the end that when believers hear of wars and rumors of wars, they shouldn’t be troubled; for such things must happen, but it’s not yet the end.
Don’t spread false rumours. Speaking about the plot against him, Jeremiah said the people of Judah said, among others things, “Let’s spread rumours about him and ignore what he says” (Jeremiah 17:18 New Living Translation). Jeremiah, complaining to God about his unpopular ministry said, “I have heard the many rumours about me. They call me ‘The Man Who Lives in Terror'” (Jeremiah 20:10a New Living Translation).
In Nehemiah 6:6, Sanballat, the enemy of the Jews, in an open letter sent to Nehemiah, lied that there were rumours that he was rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem so that he might be their king. Nehemiah replied that it wasn’t true, but his own invention. Don’t spread false rumours about those in authority or anyone. Stop “spreading vicious rumors! (Isaiah 58:9c New Living Translation).
If you’re not born again, repent of your sins today and accept Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. Whoever comes to Him, He will by no means cast out.
PRAYER POINT: I shall always speak the truth; I shall not spread false rumours about myself or anyone.
This is wisdom for living, and it’s worth sharing. Please share.
(For more inspiring messages, visit: www.cedarministry.org).
▪Banso, an Abuja-based minister and pastor, is the head of Cedar Ministry International, and can be reached at any of these addresses:
firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com; or on:
Tel No: +2348155744752, +2348033113523
WhatsApp No: +2349081295947