Sunday, October 23, 2011

Resolving Conflict: Squashing Rumors

We all hear rumors every day. Sometimes we think of them as gossip (which we sadly consider to be harmless), but often we hear a rumor and consider it to be at worst partly true.

You already know this principle from Proverbs, but it bears repeating.

The first person from whom you hear a story will rarely give you the full story.

Almost always, you need to hear things from multiple perspectives if you are going to have a truly robust understanding of the truth.

That said, what do you do when you hear a rumor which you KNOW is false? Unfortunately, we are often to cowardly to do anything in these situations, but can I suggest six steps you can take which will shut down the rumor quickly?
  • Correct the error immediately
  • Tell the truth to the person telling the rumor
  • Determine the source of the rumor (where did it come from?)
  • Determine the spread of the rumor (who else has heard it?)
  • Go to the source and stop it (by correcting the error and telling the truth)
  • Go to the spread and confront it (by correcting the error and telling the truth)
I know this approach is inconvenient, difficult, awkward, and likely time-consuming. But if we are to be MINISTERS OF RECONCILIATION who are concerned with seeing others experience the life Christ has called us to, then we MUST be about this business. Our willingness to deal with false rumors can mean the resolution of conflict, the abatement of pain, and potentially life-saving peace for those around us.

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