A good rule of thumb is whenever you hear something and your initial reaction is "I can't believe that!", you probably shouldn't.
Not long ago I was told a friend of mine had made some bad life-changing decisions that pretty much ruined his career and his marriage. I was shocked and in disbelief. But until I heard it from the horse's mouth I refused to believe it. So I asked him.
With the proliferation of email forwards (many that have been floating around for over a decade) about soft drink cans and efforts to remove religious broadcasting from television (a lot of it should be removed) I have learned to do one of two things: (1) Hit the delete key; (2) check it out on Snopes.com.
Same thing is true on Facebook. What was it a couple of weeks ago...Adam Sandler died in a skiing accident in Austria or something. Did I "pass it on"? No, I simply went to a couple of news outlets (legitimate ones) and saw nothing about Sandler. It's not that hard to find the truth.
Problem is, we seem to live in a culture that prefers to believe lies. Some are harmless. Others bring pain. It's like we want to see someone brought down.
Yesterday I was told of a rumor about my church that had no factual basis, but was created from false assumptions. Fortunately, the guy who told me is one of our partners, and he told the guy who shared the rumor with him the truth. I wonder whether he was believed.
But the fact that something false was being said about us that was concocted to hurt our reputation bothered me. Yet, I know those things happen.
Stay out of the mill. Be a truth-seeker, not a rumor spreader. And please don't send me any forwards.