Did you know that President Abraham Lincoln's coffin was pried open twice? It first happened in 1887, twenty-two years after his assassination. Why was this done? Because of a rumor was sweeping the country that Abraham Lincoln's coffin was empty. They selected several witnesses who observed that the rumor was absolutely false. They watched as the casket was resealed with lead.
The second time, fourteen years later, Lincoln’s withered body was viewed again by even more witnesses. Why a second time? For the same reason. Rumors of the same thing had again caused the public to doubt again. The pressure got so intense that the abhorrent ceremony had to be carried out. Lincoln’s son, Robert, protested, but the body was exposed for a second time. Finally, the corpse was permanently entombed in a crypt at Springfield, Illinois.
Rumors and gossip can be deadly things. I came across the following some time ago: "I am more deadly than the screaming shell of the cannon. I win without killing. I tear down homes, break hearts, wreck lives. I travel on the wings of the wind. No innocence is strong enough to intimidate me, no purity pure enough to daunt me. I have no regard for truth, no respect for justice, no mercy for the defenseless. My victims are as numerous as the sands of the sea and often as innocent. My name . . . is Gossip."
I pray that God will forgive us for the times that we have fanned the flames of gossip and rumors. May God help us to be truthful and loving; to be more like Christ in our deeds AND our words!