This article was taken from Frank Viola’s blog.
Several years ago, I came across a website alleging a sex scandal involving President Obama. The “story” first came out in 2008 just before the primary. It was shown to be baseless and quickly faded away. Then it resurfaced again in 2010. (The original story was removed by the source after staying online for 4 years.)
Another site purports alleged “proof” that Obama is a Muslim terrorist in disguise. Again, a baseless rumor.
And another alleges that Obama is gay, has sexually harassed males, and abuses drugs. Again, baseless.
Note: I don’t agree with many of Obama’s policies. But these accusations are scurrilous, vicious, outrageous, and just plain slimy. There’s no good evidence to support any of them. That’s why they’ve never gained traction. However, because they are written intelligently, they persuade the uniformed (a characteristic of effective libel).
Earlier this year, Rick Warren was personally attacked, judged, and lied about by professing Christians.
We live in a very dark world where rumors abound. Gossip abounds. Slander abounds. Even in the “Christian” community (so-called), tragically.
Slander is a serious sin, and according to Paul, slanderers will be barred from the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:9-10).
I have good friends and people whom I respect who have been lied about on the Internet, and I’ve quickly come to their defense wherever I’ve seen such lies (as I did with Rick Warren).
Point: Anyone who has profound influence is going to have detractors and enemies. And some of them will go on a personal “smear” attack using distortions and fabrications.
Just look at the things Jesus and Paul were accused of during their day.
History tells us the same thing about John Wesley, Watchman Nee, T. Austin-Sparks, and just about every other servant of God who was turning the sod on important issues during their time.
Many years ago I learned a valuable lesson from a BIG mistake I made. It was a first-class screw up that still haunts me till this day.
I listened to slander about a fellow Christian and I believed it. Thankfully, I repented when I found out the truth, but I still feel remorse over it when it comes to mind.
Last year, I wrote a post about it. The post hit a chord with many people. I’m reposting it below so that those of you who are new subscribers can read it.
It’s a lesson I learned from failure that I’ll never forget.
Rule of thumb: If you read something negative about another person, especially a fellow Christian, take it with a grain of salt. Tilt toward not believing it. Just as you would want others to do if it were you being smeared (Matthew 7:12).
If you’re concerned, go to the person directly to hear their response. There are always two sides to any story (as least). And unfortunately, some people desire to defame others, usually out of jealousy, so dishonesty abounds.