"'Ah, But he has likely enough been adding to what he brought at the first,'
argued the miller, voicing common opinion. 'He's often away from home. And look at the outlandish folk that visit him: dwarves
coming at night, and that old wandering conjurer, Gandalf, and all. You can say what you like, Gaffer, but Bag End's a queer
place, and it's folk are queerer.'" (The Lord of the Rings)
Ted Sandyman: Gossip Finds Fertile Ground
One of the things that we know right from the start is that the miller, Mr. Sandyman, or Ted Sandyman,
used to listen to gossip. This was not uncommon among the people of the Shire. The main difference is the way he used the
gossip he heard. You see, most would just be passing stories they heard, more or less to pass as conversation. Now gossip
in any form is wrong, even in this seemingly benign form. Sandyman, however, would sift through the gossip to contrive things
that brought about suspicion against others. His intent was selfish, and it always brought about pain. It is this self-serving
gossip that leads to Frodo's quest starting out on a deadly course. I was born and raised in New Jersey and am acquainted
with La Familia, that group called the "Mafia". I have to tell you, if someone like Sandyman were found in their midst they
would make him disappear. It's not good business to keep around someone who knows all your secrets and then shoots off at
the mouth. Silence is golden, or it is secured through other methods.
When Jesus ministered to the needy He kept coming against different obstacles. One of these were people
just like Sandyman. In Matthew 9:34 the Pharisees made the statement that Jesus cast out devils through the prince of devils.
A more general bit of gossip was taught by the Pharisees, although no less damaging. Jesus answers their statements as follows,
"For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, He hath a devil. The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they
say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners. But wisdom is justified of her children."
Like Sandyman, the Pharisees tried to undermine the good of others. Jesus refused to allow that to
be done. As Christians we must allow the Holy Spirit to abide in us that we might speak in wisdom, not like Sandyman, and
oppose those who wrongly accuse us with the Words God gives us. We are not meant to be doormats for the Lord. We are called
to be soldiers. But we must temper this with love. We cannot, nor should not, respond in anger just to save face. Rather we
should respond to defend God's honor, and we should live to do so as well.
"The Pharisees therefore said unto him, Thou bearest record of thyself; thy
record is not true. Jesus answered and said unto them, Though I bear record of myself, yet my record is true: for I know whence
I came, and whither I go; but ye cannot tell whence I come, and whither I go. Ye judge after the flesh; I judge no man. And
yet if I judge, my judgment is true: for I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent me. It is also written in your law,
that the testimony of two men is true. I am one that bear witness of myself, and the Father that sent me beareth witness of
me. Then said they unto him, Where is thy Father? Jesus answered, Ye neither know me, nor my Father: if ye had known me, ye
should have known my Father also." (John 8:13-18)