This adage is attributed to Edgar Allan Poe, 19th century author. The last line of the adage is “and only believe half of what you see”. Some may think these are cynical statements but let’s see if there is any truth within. When you witness an event with your own eyes, can’t you report those facts as truth? The only problem is that you don’t know the entirety of the circumstances and you don’t know the intentions of the parties involved. Concerning the title statement, unless you hear a fact about a person directly from that person’s mouth, you may be hearing speculation and incorrect interpretation. This is called gossip. Gossip’s goal is to build a case to assassinate the character of another person. The invention of the telephone , patented in 1876 by Alexander Graham Bell, greatly facilitated this practice of gossip. Rural areas had phone service called The Party line where as many as four families could be connected on the same line. Unique ring sequences were assigned to each “party” on the line. Since everyone on the Party line heard the phone ringing, it was easy to lift the receiver and listen in to sensitive conversations. The last Party lines were not discontinued until early 2000. The Bible has a lot to say concerning the tongue and our use of words.
Proverbs 25: 11 says that a word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver. Proverbs 18:21 says the tongue has the power of life and death and those who love it will eat its fruit. The Apostle Paul complimented the believers in First Thessalonians 5:11 Therefore, encourage one another and build one another up just as you are doing. May we be known as people who encourage and build up others. May we be known as people who choose to believe the best and practice grace giving instead of gossip.