By Ye Xin
The Consequences of Believing Rumors Lightly
I once read this story: There was a swordsman who specialized in robbing the rich and helping the poor, in suppressing the evil and supporting the good. But the evil doers, due to the loss of their personal interests, colluded with corrupt officials to frame him. They murdered, committed arson, and kidnapped women everywhere, leaving behind the swordsman’s distinguishing mark. So the government used this as an excuse to arrest him.
Accordingly, he had to live in hiding in a forest, keeping his real name secret. One day, he came across a young lady and her maid who were being hunted by bad people. During the six months they spent together, both the lady and her maid thought well of him. Later, the lady declared her true feelings to the swordsman and expressed a willingness to marry him. Rejoiced at her words, he blurted out his real name out while looking to the skies and sighing happily. On hearing it, she thought: Isn’t he the man who is wanted by the authorities? After remembering the rumors, she immediately ran away in horror. As a result, she accidentally fell off a precipice, killing herself. The maid, however, realized that if the swordsman was really that wicked, would he not have killed them long ago? Then how could they still be alive today? So she returned to stay with him. Henceforth, she lived a happy life with the swordsman.
This story gives us the message that the maid focused on investigating the facts, and her reward was that she was able to live a happy life with the swordsman. From this, we can see that rumors will ultimately be proven to be false. Whereas the young lady believed the rumors without any discernment, and lost her life in the end. She was truly foolish, and that’s so sad!
The Origin of Rumors
The young lady in the story was foolish and ignorant and there are many people in real life who have played the same role. At the same time as lamenting her ignorance, we also loathe those who had made up and disseminated the rumors. We can say that it was their selfishness and malice that directly killed her. Then why did these people create those rumors? And what was the essence of the rumors? We can use the rumors that were fabricated by the Pharisees when the Lord Jesus performed His work as an example to trace the origin of such rumors.
This made me think of the Lord Jesus, who was incarnated in the flesh, spoke and worked among mankind, and had a tremendous impact upon the whole Jewish nation. Some common people started to follow the Lord Jesus after hearing His preaching. However, when the chief priests, scribes, and the Pharisees of that time saw that, they feared that the common people would not support them any longer, and thus they would not be able to enjoy the offerings people gave God. Therefore, to protect their status and livelihood, they began to spread rumors, saying that the Lord Jesus cast out devils through Beelzebub, the prince of the devils. As the Bible records, “And the scribes which came down from Jerusalem said, He has Beelzebub, and by the prince of the devils casts he out devils” (Mark 3:22). Additionally, after the Lord Jesus was resurrected, they fabricated rumors again, saying that the disciples of the Lord Jesus moved His body. As it is recorded in the scripture, “And when they were assembled with the elders, and had taken counsel, they gave large money to the soldiers, Saying, Say you, His disciples came by night, and stole him away while we slept” (Matthew 28:12-13). This shows us that it was for the sake of their own positions and jobs that these chief priests and scribes invented all sorts of rumors against the Lord Jesus. As a result of these rumors, many Israelites did not accept the work of the Lord Jesus, and instead blindly followed the Pharisees in passing on the rumors and condemning the Lord Jesus, thus committing a heinous crime. And even today, the Israelites are still deceived and bound by these rumors. This is the outcome of their believing rumors!
No matter if it is the little story above or historical facts, they all enable us to see that rumors are generally created by people to achieve their own hidden goals, and are sheer fabricated nonsense or frame-ups. At the same time, we often see that the hearts and minds of those who make up rumors are totally malicious. If we cannot see through their rumors, we will be misled by them and will make irredeemable errors. Then how can we see through rumors? Following These Three Principles Aids in Seeing Through Rumors
First, we should investigate the facts of God’s work.
Although the Pharisees created many rumors about the Lord Jesus, there were still many people who accepted His salvation and received His commission to spread the gospel to all nations and all peoples. Then why were these people not deceived by the rumors? It was because they paid attention to investigating the facts. The Lord Jesus performed many miraculous signs and wonders during His work. He not only made a blind man see, a paralyzed person walk, used five loaves of bread and two fish to feed five thousand people, and rebuked the winds and the sea, but also performed the miracle of raising the dead. Because of the Lord Jesus’ work, those who followed Him recognized that He was the Messiah, and saw that His words and actions couldn’t be replaced by that of any created or non-created being. This allows us to see that a fact is, after all, a fact and no rumor can cover up the truth. Just as the Lord Jesus said to His disciples, “Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known” (Matthew 10:26). One day the truth will come to light. So to see through rumors, we first need to investigate the facts. Don’t follow the herd and easily believe rumors.
Second, we should investigate from the utterances of God.
When the Lord Jesus was performing work, He expressed many words. His utterances included revelations of the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, such as the parables that the Lord Jesus spoke of; words that exposed mankind’s corruption, such as the words of rebuke that the Lord Jesus spoke to the Pharisees; words of comfort and encouragement for people and words that exposed people’s darkest secrets. Furthermore, it is many times recorded in the Bible that when the Lord Jesus rebuked demons that attached themselves to people, the demons came out. These words all manifested the identity of God, allowing man to see that the words of the Lord Jesus are full of authority and that He really is the Creator who appeared to man. Through hearing the words spoken by the Lord Jesus, many people recognized that He was the coming Messiah foretold in the Old Testament and was God incarnated as the Son of man appearing to man, and therefore kept in step with God’s work. Because they could listen to God’s voice like the wise virgins could, and recognized that the Lord Jesus’ words and utterances are exactly the voice of God, no matter how many rumors were being spread around, they were not affected by them. They just believed the Lord Jesus was the Messiah. This shows us that those who are able to hear the voice of God can know God from His utterances. This way, they possess the capacity to discriminate and resist rumors.
Third, we should investigate the fruits of God’s work.
In the latter days of the Age of Law, mankind was so deeply corrupted by Satan that they failed to abide by the law and free themselves from sin, thus facing the danger of being lawfully condemned and executed. Therefore, God, based on the needs of corrupt mankind and His management plan for saving mankind, became flesh and came down to earth for the first time. He ended His work of the Age of Law under the name of Jesus, began to spreadof the kingdom of heaven and the way of repentance, and carried out the work of redemption in the Age of Grace. We only needed to receive the Lord Jesus as our Savior, pray to the Lord, and repent, to have our sins forgiven. Henceforth, we were no longer condemned for not being able to abide by the law. In addition, when we had no other way to turn, the Lord Jesus showed us many new paths of practice. For example, Peter asked the Lord Jesus, “Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?” (Matthew 18:22). The Lord Jesus said to him: “I say not to you, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven” (Matthew 18:22). And “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like to it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:37-39). These words spoken by the Lord brought us a new age and a new direction to travel. When we acted in accordance with the Lord’s words, we had the presence of the Holy Spirit and felt peace and joy. When we abandoned the Lord’s words, we lived in darkness. Because the disciples who followed Him at that time practiced the Lord’s words, they attained liberation and freedom, lived in the stream of the work of the Holy Spirit, and won God’s approval. The results of our experiencing God’s work also enable us to have some discernment about rumors, for facts speak louder than words.
Just think about it: If we were born in the age when the Lord Jesus performed His work, when faced with the overwhelming rumors that Pharisees spread about the Lord Jesus, would we have analyzed and treated the rumors rationally, and focused on investigating God’s work and words like the disciples who followed the Lord Jesus, or would we have blindly believed the rumors and passed them on without seeking or investigating, just like the foolish Jewish people? Without doubt, if we cannot grasp the principles of seeing through rumors, then we will be easily confused by them. Only when we grasp the principles of seeing through rumors and investigating the true way will we have the ability to discern rumors because of having an understanding of the truth. And only then will we stand firm when hearing rumors.
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