The Plague of Talebearing Within the Christian Community

Everyone has a burr under the saddle about something, and mine is people passing information about another without the facts. I get so fed up with it.

One time, Mr. D.E. Host, who took over the China Inland Mission when Hudson Taylor retired — and that’s a beautiful story.

There is a book on Mr. Host’s life called D.E. Host: A Prince With God — a terrific book. Mr. Host was a man with great people skills…[He had] over twelve hundred missionaries under his care in the interior of China…A great, great man of God.

At a conference like this, he was asked, “What is the biggest problem you have in your mission?” [His questioner was referring to] the China Inland Mission, the overseas mission, one of the greatest missions of all time. And remember, he is talking about totally dedicated people. [Mr. Host replied]:

The greatest problem we have in the mission is talebearing — missionaries talking about missionaries, and passing on rumors and stories, and enjoying passing on rumors and stories — and they don’t have the facts.

I can’t tell you how many times…I have heard stories about other people that are misinformation — out-and-out falsehoods, distortions of the truth. I get so fed up with it. I just practice as a principle: no judgment without the facts. And I don’t care if my best friends tell me — no judgment without the facts.

You’ve heard about the man walking down the street and someone said, “I heard you are dead.”

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“He says: “Well, you can see that is not true.”

“Yes, but I heard it on reliable information.”

Well, what is reliable information? No judgment without the facts. Be careful what you hear about any brother….

And remember what the Scripture says about an elder. You are not even to entertain a report about an elder. That’s protection. God gives protection to elders because people love to talk about them without witnesses.

So discipline your mind and heart, because we love to hear gossip and juicy stories about people. You have no idea if they are true or not. You just simply don’t know.

That’s my burr underneath my saddle — no judgment without the facts!

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