I remember as a youngster playing the game "Operator." Some called it other names, but that is the name of the game I remember.
The goal of the game was to teach youngsters that a person can say something and by the time the word is spread to others, something entirely different is understood.
It was a lesson about gossip.
Unfortunately, this world is filled with gossip. A person can share information with another and by the time it reaches the ears of an entirely different party, the information is so misconstrued that real relationships can be damaged.
With this knowledge in hand, I try to carefully choose my words. If someone shares information with me that may be offensive, I try to go to the source to find out if I am wrong in being offended.
Most times, I shrug off what might be gossip. It is in discerning the matter that I must carefully think about the information presented to me and weigh its importance in my life.
If it doesn't directly impact me, it isn't my business. If it does directly impact me, I must go directly to the supposed source.
Recently, a family I know was negatively impacted because of misconstrued information.
The source, I'll call her Sue, was asked how her family members were doing. Sue said there were some concerns. Her brother and sister-in-law were barely able to see one another because their work schedules conflicted.
Sue told the "inquiring mind" her brother was considering leaving his job if he wasn't able to change his schedule. He wanted to see his wife more often.
The information was passed along, and the couple was informed Sue was saying they wanted a divorce.
The couple and the remaining family members were angry with Sue and failed to ask her what she actually said.
Fortunately, most families don't take gossip at face value. Most families realize information can be twisted and consider the true heart of the original source.
However, there can be severe consequences in any relationship when we choose to believe third party entities.
So, when you hear a bit of information, and it hasn't come "from the horse's mouth," consider the source and talk to them personally about the matter before jumping to conclusions. Don't let gossip derail your relationships.