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Ted Sandyman: Gossip Finds Fertile Ground

     "'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." (Matthew 11:18-19)

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)