Rumor in Town and Church

I am writing tonight from the beautiful Tampa Bay area. Al Lang Field is an old Spring training Park in St.Petersburg where Babe Dahlgren probably played.

I am writing tonight from the beautiful Tampa Bay area. Al Lang Field is an old spring training Park in St.Petersburg where Babe Dahlgren probably played.

Babe Dahlgren was enjoying the off season after winning the 1939 World Series with the New York Yankees baseball club. Back home in San Francisco he decided to meet with a local batting instructor for the San Francisco Seals of the Pacific Coast League to get some friendly tips. When he re-joined the Yankees in St. Petersburg, Florida, for spring training, his manager was suddenly very cold towards Babe. Unbeknownst to Babe, the batting instructor was a long-time enemy of his baseball manager. And now his baseball manager no longer wanted anything to do with Babe, despite his great fielding abilities and steady bat.

After a game where Babe made a rare error, his manager was talking to reporters, when off the top of his head, without an ounce of proof, he said, “If Babe had not been smoking marijuana, he would have made that play.” Thus began the rumor that Babe’s grandson, Matt Dahlgren, writes about in his book,“Rumor in Town.”

In those days smoking marijuana could get you kicked out of baseball for life. Of course the manager had no proof, but his position gave him enough influence and power to get Babe traded to another team, even though he was a great fielder and batter. The rumor seemed to follow Babe as he got sent from team to team. Babe wondered why he kept getting traded while he was leading the league in several categories.

It would be years before Babe would learn that a rumor was going around about him. In a meeting with his team executive, while playing for the Brooklyn Dodgers, he was asked about doing drugs. The team executive used the rumor to try to intimidate Babe to go down to the minor leagues.

Babe did his best to try to clear his name of this rumor, but trying to find out who has heard a rumor is like emptying a box of feathers into the wind and then trying to gather them all up. They are impossible to trace and recover.

Matt Dahlgren goes on to write that this Brooklyn Dodger executive was the same man who brought Jackie Robinson into major league baseball and broke the foolish color barrier that had for so long oppressed the United States.

I was perplexed at the inconsistency in this executive, but then I realized he represents the entire human race, even many Christians. On one hand he is a hero who relieved oppression by breaking the color barrier in baseball. On the other hand, he caused oppression for Babe by continuing the rumor. I laid the book down for a moment and prayed that God would keep me from doing like what was done to Babe.

Babe loved the game of baseball and devoted himself to his team, yet his manager turned against him just because Babe talked to someone he did not like. Then others carried the rumor further, and still others used it as a weapon to blackmail and oppress Babe.

We need to be careful that we do not participate in any way by listening to and intentionally or unintentionally spreading rumor that will hurt others, as mentioned in this week’s SS lesson. While we think of political and social oppression and corruption being carried on in the world, let’s be careful we are not carrying it on in the church.

We may think of ourselves as good people, just as the executive probably did, but we may still be doing much harm and hurt by listening to, and even spreading rumors which may deeply hurt a brother or sister in the church! The executive may have thought the rumor to be true, and so may we. But that does not lessen our responsibility before God. Even spreading negative things thatare totally true about someone may make us guilty before God because it is not a loving thing to do and thus not reflective of God’s character. The Apostle Peter reminds us to “love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude ofsins. (1 Peter 4:8)

When rumors hurt people’s ministry, the cause of God suffers. Satan uses rumors to not only hurt the people the rumor is about, but to also taint or destroy their ministry to the point where their ministry is no longer useful to save lost souls. What a tragedy!

In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches.But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire.  And the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself. James 3:5-6 NLT

Rumors are dainty morsels that sink deep into one’s heart. Proverbs 18:8 NLT

It has been said that “sticks and stones may break my bones but words may never hurt me.” Nothing could be farther from the truth! Many people who have been abused physically as well as verbally say they would rather be physically abused than verbally abused. Physical abuse hurts the body but verbal abuse wounds the depths of the soul.

I know that God can foil all of Satan’s rumors and accusations so that all things work together for good to those who Love God and are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28) Like many others I have had rumors told about me. One time someone told a lie about me right in public. When I was talking it over with a friend to see how I should respond to clear myself of this lie, my friend wisely suggested, “Don’t respond to the rumor. By responding you only give the rumor merit.” I said nothing and later found out that everyone else either forgot what was said that day or was distracted when the person said it, and never heard the rumor at all!

That is how it worked out for me, but I know this is not always the case. This is why when I finished the book and put it down, I asked God to keep me from participating in a rumor that could destroy someone’s life!

The Yankee manager was foolish to let the fact that Babe saw an enemy of his bother him – especially since Babe had nothing but the best intentions in getting batting tips. Jealousy is a silly excuse to start a rumor, but does this happen in the church as well? When we entertain thoughts of jealousy, we may not even realize  when we are gossiping and spreading rumors because what we think in our hearts will come out of our lips. (Matt 12:34)

We need to ask God to give us hearts like His – filled with a love that will never participate in any way in gossip that may hurt another of God’s children, either in the world or in the church.

Luke 20; Spies Who Dress Like Sheep But Really Are Wolves

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

Luke  20:19 And the chief priests and the scribes the same hour sought to lay hands on him; and they feared the people: for they perceived that he had spoken this parable against them. 

 20:20    And they watched [him], and sent forth spies, which should feign themselves just men, that they might take hold of his words, that so they might deliver him unto the power and authority of the governor. 

Do you believe Satan uses these same tactics today? You better believe he does! He will use wolves in sheep clothing who pretend to be sincere, to get you to open up to them so that they can report what you have said, and hopefully twist your words and malign your motives to destroy the work you are doing for God.

While it is true that no weapon formed against God’s people can prosper, and that the enemies of truth can do nothing but advance the truth, Satan and his spies can still cause some headaches along the way. This is why Jesus warns us, “Therefore whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops.” Luke 12:3    And remember Jesus said that before there were cell phones and Facebook! Solomon in his wisdom advises, “ Curse not the king, no not in thy thought; and curse not the rich in thy bedchamber: for a bird of the air shall carry the voice, and that which hath wings shall tell the matter.” Ecclesiastes 10:20

  The last time I performed a baptism at church, when I changed into my robe, I did not want to leave my wallet with my clothes, so I gave it a friend to watch for me. While I would never dream of anyone in the church taking my money, there was still only a handful of people I felt comfortable leaving my wallet with. While I assume many are trustworthy, there are very few that I will put in a position where they need to prove they are trustworthy. Many of us have friends all over the country. If we must talk about a problem that is sensitive and needs secrecy, it may be best to share it with a friend who is way outside the picture rather than one who is close by. They will have less opportunity to let it slip to the wrong people, and they may even be able to give us a better neutral objective view point on the issue. Of course we have a friend in Jesus, who we can trust with all our secrets, and in reality He is the only one who can help us anyway. Also remember, evil spies cannot twist words that were never spoken.

Mark 15; When Silence is Golden

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

Mark 15:13 And the chief priests accused him of many things: but he answered nothing.

A few weeks ago someone publicly made false accusations against me. I said nothing. Later I thought about saying something to defend myself, but a friend stopped me before I had a chance and explained to me that if I defended myself against the accusation, I would just be giving the accusation merit. I am so glad I listened to this friend, because I found out later that hardly anybody was really paying attention when the persona made the accusation any way, and those who heard it knew better than to believe it. I realized, the only person who gave it any mind was me, and once I let it go it was gone! When someone makes a false accusation about you just be glad it’s a false accusation. Jesus got those all the time too. On Friday night, Satan thought He had made such a spectacle of humiliation of Jesus on the cross that He would never show His face again, but the following Sunday everyone was worshiping Him again. False accusations did not stop Jesus and they should not stop us from doing good either. Just remember, “No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD.” Isaiah 54:17  I have found this to be very true!

Matthew 16; Good Questions

 

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”  They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”  “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Matthew 16:13-16

 

After Jesus asks the disciples what everyone else thought about Him, He asks them what they thought about Him. Often we are tempted to wonder what others think about us, when we should be asking Jesus what He thinks about us. In Revelation 3:5 Jesus says if we are overcomers through Him, He will confess our name before the Father. Isn’t that an amazing thought; Your name rolling off the tongue of the Son of God before the Father on His throne! Shouldn’t our thoughts be centered on what Jesus is saying about us and not man? When wondering what others say about us, shouldn’t we turn and ask Jesus the same question He asked His disciples, “But who do you say that I am?”

 

I heard the title of a book that I have never got to read yet, but I think just the title says it all. The book is titled, “What you think of me is none of my business.” Really that is true. Let people think what they want. There are millions of opinions flying through the atmosphere about a million different things.  The only Person whose opinion matters is Jesus. What Jesus thinks about me is my business. What others think about me is none of my business.