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Have you ever played the “Telephone Game”? I used to enjoy it as a child. Someone would whisper a word or phrase into a neighbor’s ear, with the goal of having that phrase make it all the way around the circle. But it would never take long for the original saying to turn to a hilarious jumble of meaningless words! While this game is immense fun for children of all ages, it has recently struck me how often we as adults play “Telephone” in our own lives.

We are told in James 1:19, “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger…” We are to be quick to hear, and slow to speak. However, the reality is that all too often we talk far more than is necessary, and don’t listen nearly as much as we should. We hear rumors and spread them like wildfire, not taking the time to see if they are true, or considering the implications of what we are doing. Even in the news, we often hear, “There are reports of…”, “It appears that…”, or “There is speculation that…”. And isn’t it telling that there is an ever-growing audience for gossip magazines? There is a drop in the value of truth and facts in our society. While fact may be stranger than fiction, it’s often not as interesting.

This brings a whole new significance to what the apostles Peter and John said when they were arrested and told not to preach. “…but they answered, ‘Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.’” (Acts 4:19, 20 ESV) They weren’t spreading rumors, but speaking of what they had experienced. They were witnesses to the power and glory of God. As Christians, we are blessed to have experienced God’s power in how He changed us from the inside out. What is it, then, that keeps us from spreading more than empty gossip and rumors? Let us boldly speak of “what we seen and heard”!

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