“So the rumor spread in the community that this disciple would not die. Yet Jesus did not say to him that he would not die, but, ‘If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you?’” (John 21:23)
Rumors had to be addressed in Jesus’ community of disciples as they do in ours today.
I will be the first to say that the community of God’s followers can be a very healing place to be. It is impossible for me to count the many times I have experienced both healing and renewal by being in the presence of my sisters and brothers in Christ.
But it is also impossible for me to ignore that I also have experienced suffering at the hands of those who ascribe to the same faith as me. Are you shocked that I would say this, or can you relate?
Best and true
One of the most enduring things that I have learned and try to live by is the idea that I—we—should aspire to bring people back to what is best and true.
It is okay and even helpful to check with another (someone whom we trust or sense has wisdom) about issues that affect the community. But we must learn to bring those conversations back to the shared table (the community), or we are sabotaging our own best intentions.
Without holding ourselves accountable to each other as a community, we will always struggle to reach our goal to become whole.
Jesus is the head of this house
A plaque in my mother’s kitchen reads, “Jesus Christ is the head of this house, the silent listener of every conversation, the unseen host of every meal.”
The point: As God’s baptized we have no real secrets, and mischief is not a fruit of the Spirit. Neither is spreading rumors.
Creating or sustaining a culture of rumors and judgment has nothing to do with God’s grace. And it puts us counter to Jesus’ desires.
How do we live up to Women of the ELCA’s purpose statement to promote healing and wholeness in the church, the society, and the world? We can start by being kind to one another and by addressing rumors before they grow.
Inez Torres Davis retired as director for justice in March 2017. This blog first ran in March 2010.