Alan Redpath, a renowned British evangelist, pastor and author who was born on January 9, 1907 and died on March 16, 1989, has a famous T.H.I.N.K quote which will form the basis of this week’s blog post and it goes as follows:
T – Is it true?
H – Is it helpful?
I – Is it inspiring?
N – Is it necessary?
K – Is it kind?
If what I am about to say does not pass those tests, I will keep my mouth shut!
Too often we have seen people’s characters, reputations, careers, relationships and families destroyed because of gossip and rumours spread by unthinking individuals. Many times the individuals gossiping or spreading the rumors are not mean persons but are just so caught up in hearing and spreading “juicy” news about other people’s business that they fail to realize that what they say has the potential to travel for thousands of miles and destroy people’s personal, social and work life. Spend your time learning something new or volunteering instead of gossiping or spreading rumors.
There are times when all evidence points to someone being guilty of doing or saying something which in fact they did not do or say. So if many of us were to place our heads on a block as a sign of certainty that someone did or said something, we would certainly get our heads chopped off, because circumstances are not always what they seem.
It is also important to note that Alan Redpath urges us to speak only after satisfying ALL of the five (5) criteria. In other words, even if something is TRUE that does not mean that one should gossip and spread it . Dig deeper and ask yourself whether what you are about to say will help someone, whether it is in any way uplifting, whether it is absolutely necessary to say what you are about to say and whether what you are about to say is kind. A simple test which I use, and which I advocate that everyone uses, is to ask myself, “Would I like someone to say about me what I am about to say about this person?”
Unfortunately, many people are unable to fathom the damage they cause and emotional pain they inflict on others by gossiping or spreading rumours until they themselves have been the victim of such a travesty. So the onus and responsibility is on each and every one of us to ensure that we T.H.I.N.K before we speak about others. Employ charity when you speak about others or don’t speak at all.