Winston Churchill exemplified integrity and respect in the face of opposition. During
his last year in office, he attended an official ceremony. Several rows behind him two
gentlemen began whispering. "That's Winston Churchill." "They say he is
getting senile." "They say he should step aside and leave the running of the
nation to more dynamic and capable men." When the ceremony was over, Churchill turned
to the men and said, "Gentlemen, they also say he is deaf!"
Barbara Hatcher, Vital Speeches, March 1, 1987.
Many years ago the Moody Church News carried a humorous story about a woman in a small
town who was know for being a gossip. One day on vacation she visited the offices of The
Chicago Daily News. She was wearing a white dress and inadvertently leaned against a wall
where a freshly printed copy of the front page was hanging. It was a hot, humid day, and
some of the print came off on the back of her white dress.
Later, as she walked down the street to meet her husband, she noticed that people
walking behind her were snickering. When she reached the place where her husband was
waiting, she asked him if there was anything on her back that shouldn't be there. As she
turned around, he read the large black reversed letters: sweN ylaiD. Realizing the
appropriateness of the words, he said, "No, dear, nothing's on your back that doesn't
Our Daily Bread, June 23, 1994.
Four preachers met for a friendly gathering. During the conversation one preacher said,
"Our people come to us and pour out their hears, confess certain sins and needs.
Let's do the same. Confession is good for the soul." In due time all agreed. One
confessed he liked to go to movies and would sneak off when away from his church. The
second confessed to liking to smoke cigars and the third one confessed to liking to play
cards. When it came to the fourth one, he wouldn't confess. The others pressed him saying,
"Come now, we confessed ours. What is your secret or vice?" Finally he answered,
"It is gossiping and I can hardly wait to get out of here."
Christopher News Notes, June 1992.
In 1887 the coffin of Abraham Lincoln was pried open to determine if it contained his
body. What makes that act so remarkable is the fact that Lincoln's body had rested in that
coffin for 22 years. Yet, even more amazing is that 14 years later a rumor circulated
again that Lincoln's coffin was actually empty. The furor so gripped the land that the
only way to silence it was to dig up the coffin--again. This was done and the rumor
silenced when a handful of witnesses viewed the lifeless body of Abraham Lincoln.
Today in the Word, February, 1991, p. 27.
I once formed a mutual encouragement fellowship at a time of stress in one of my
pastorates. The members subscribed to a simple formula applied before speaking of any
person or subject that was perhaps controversial.
T--Is it true?
H--Is it helpful?
I--Is it inspiring?
N--Is it necessary?
K--Is it kind?
If what I am about to say does not pass those tests, I will keep my mouth shut! And it
Alan Redpath, A Passion for Preaching.
Some people will believe anything if it is whispered to them.
Pierre de Marivaux.
Gossip is the most deadly microbe. It has neither legs nor wings. It is composed
entirely of tales, and most of them have stings.
Morris Mandel in Bits & Pieces, June, 1990, p. 22.
So live that you wouldn't be ashamed to sell the family parrot to the town gossip.
If you don't say it, they can't repeat it. Yiddish folklore offers a telling tale about
gossip-makers. One such man had told so many malicious untruths about the local rabbi
that, overcome by remorse, he begged the rabbi to forgive him. "And, Rabbi, tell me
how I can make amends." The rabbi sighed, "Take two pillows, go to the public
square and there cut the pillows open. Wave them in the air. Then come back." The
rumormonger quickly went home, got two pillows and a knife, hastened to the square, cut
the pillows open, waved them in the air and hastened back to the rabbi's chambers. "I
did just what you said, Rabbi!" "Good." The rabbi smiled. "Now, to
realize how much harm is done by gossip, go back to the square..." "And?"
"And collect all your feathers."
From Hooray for Yiddish.
In the course of your conversation each and every day,
Think twice, try to be careful of what you have to say;
Your remarks may be picked up by someone's listening ear,
You may be surprised at what some people think they hear.
Things that you innocently say, or try to portray,
Can be changed, and greatly exaggerated along the way;
Many stories change for the worse as they are retold.
So try to keep any questionable remarks "on hold."
May I give all of you some very sound advice?
When you speak of others, say something nice;
Try to say good things, regardless of who is around,
If you have nothing good to say, don't utter a sound.
You may find that an innocent remark, in the end,
May lose you a close and valued friend.
Henry Lesser, Teamwork, Darnell Corporation.
Have you heard of the terrible family They,
And the dreadful venomous things They say?
Why, half the gossip under the sun,
If you trace it back, you will find begun
In that wretched House of They.
Ellen Wilcox Wheeler.