You should always be careful of hearsay. Hearsay in simple terms is gossip, which can either be true or untrue. When someone tells you that Party B did this to you or that person, that is hearsay. Hearsays are always not bad, but making decisions solely based on hearsay without finding out what is reported to you is true or not is dangerous. Many relationships have been strained and some are non-existent simply because one party acted on hearsay without finding out if there is any iota of truth in what is reported or not.
You should always bear in mind that it is not everyone who has your interest at heart. The person telling you stories about Party B could be doing it because he or she cares about you. On the other hand, the person could be doing it because he or she doesn’t care about you and wants to see your relationship with Part B ruined.
Hearsays which are untrue are what the Bible calls “bearing false witness”, (Exodus 23:1). The Book of Proverbs has a lot to say about hearsays. And remember that “bearing false witness” is one of the seven abominations God hates, (Proverbs 6:16, 19). So, just imagine ending that relationship based on hearsay, which later turned out to be false!
You can do one of the following when someone reports a friend or a family member to you.
- Ignore and move on. Remember, “A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense“, (Proverbs 19:11, NIV).
- Find out from the person who has been accused whether the stories are true. Depending on the type of issue reported to you and based on your own discretion, you might want to tell the talebearer that you would confront the person he or she reported. Relationships are always important and if your friend is in the wrong, confront him and sort the issue out by following the advice of Jesus in Matthew 18:15-17.
In all of these, always remember to seek the face of God in prayer and ask Him for wisdom to help you address issues, (James 1:5).