Destroying Our Heroes

“A man needs heroes. He needs to believe in strength, nobility, and courage” – Louis L’Amour

Several years ago I was in a prominent leadership position in my church. I led a committee that suggested some radical change in the methodology of our worship. There were a few detractors who did not agree with our philosophy; but instead of discussing these things with us, they began to assassinate my character and that of others. I was accused of trying to “buy the pastor”, “run the church”, and other evil motives. A young man who had previously sought my counsel, now was led against me; he later became a good friend. Another lady, who did not know me personally, led a viscous attack; two years later she came to me and apologized. But most of the enemies were nameless and faceless. Their weapons was gossip.

Gossip is “rumor or report of intimate nature”. A gossip is a “person who habitually reveals personal or sensational facts:. As humans even the most bold of us can be severely wounded by a single word. For example, just after his tremendous victory over 850 false prophets, the great a Biblical Prophet Elijah was sent into hiding and despair after a single threat by the evil Jezebel. Today our heroes from fields such as sports, religion, government, business, and entertainment are being destroyed by malicious gossip.

Paschal says that gossip is “Putting two and two together and making it five”. Many times there is a “grain of truth”, but we embellish it. We justify our actions by saying that “it is OK, as long as it is true”. Or we

rationalize it by saying, “this is exactly like I heard it”. We really do not want to reveal secrets, so we only tell our closest three or four friend, or maybe six, or even ten. Why do we engage in this whispering campaigns? Gossip is waving a red flag to others by revealing that we have a problem with low self-esteem. Such groundless rumors reveal our own deeper problems of jealousy, envy, bitterness, anger, fear, guilt, or pride.

Who are the targets of our scuttlebutt? Generally they are our leaders, adversaries, co-workers, friends, or even family members. We use these juicy morsels to verbally destroy our political and religious leaders, our competitors, and other people’s heroes. We use our “secret news channel” to bring down marriages, families, careers institutions, and causes. We end up hurting the people we are talking about the one we are talking to, and ourselves. We need to remember that when we throw dirt, most of it blows back in our own faces.

Over the years as an employer, I have been amazed that even my trusted employees sometimes participated in “idle talk” about their employer with other co-workers, rather that coming to me personally. When such “needless chat” proved false these employees lost credibility with their co-workers. I remember a few times that a co-worker cared enough about me to confront me rather that to attack me. Some time ago two employees came to my office and challenged by integrity in an employee matter. They said my decision had violated our firm’s values, and they had the boldness to meet with me. In this one case I was fortunately in the right, but how I admire their courage.

When we were kids we knew it was wrong to “tattle”; have we gone to far the other way? Today the National Enquirer and afternoon “trash” shows build big audiences, including some of the pillars of our community. Gossip is listed along with many other bad characteristics in Romans 1, II Corinthians 12,

I Timothy 3 and 5, and II Timothy 3.  The next time we are tempted to be “busybodies”, we should remember Proverbs, which reminds us that “gossips can’t keep secrets, so never confide in blabbermouths.” And when we are inclined to listen to a “choice bit of dirt” around the coffee table, Proverbs also tells us that “Listening to gossip is like eating cheap candy; do you really want junk food in your belly?” It’s true. If we keep our tongue under control, then our who life is on track.

Yes, in my church, a place where I had hoped to find love, I had let the gossip of a few destroy me. It pulled be into a dark tunnel of depression. Then a friend sent me a card with the open “hero” statement on the front. He told me that I was a role model for him. Just as one or two people put me down, one single friend lifted me up. How about you? Are you gossiping and destroying your heroes, or are you encouraging someone and making anther hero? All of us have faults, but everyone has at least one positive trait. Our communities today definitely need heroes. Let’s be a hero builder!

Believing in Heroes,

Proverbs 20:19, 18:8 (Message)
Also read: Psalms 52:4, 119:23
Proverbs 12:13, 16:27, 24:28, 26:20 (Message)


About kenthumphreys
Kent Humphreys has been a business leader for over forty years. He also served as CEO of FCCI/Christ@Work for six years and now serves as their worldwide ambassador, speaking, writing, and mentoring young leaders. He continues to be active in distribution, private equities, and real estate. Kent and his wife Davidene have written six books together. They have three children and eight grand-children.

2 Responses to Destroying Our Heroes

  1. Cindy P says:

    Kent, Thank you for your consistent challenge and leadership to seek the things of the Lord rather than our own sinful (culturally acceptable) ways. You have blessed me as I have watched you (for my whole life) faithfully practice disciplines that the Lord calls us to and consistently worked to share the Gospel along the way. I praise God for the work in your life and the fruit you continue to bear. To God be the Glory for the Things He has done in you!

  2. Cathy Westm says:

    I agree Kent. I feel sorry for folks who gossip and fail to love us with flaws. Thank you.

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