A best-selling author in the Seattle area was curious why a Confederate battle flag was flying in her neighborhood — not a hotbed of the KKK, historically. So she contacted the local paper, and they sent a reporter to investigate.
Turns out, it was the Norwegian flag — which, if the wind is not blowing and you are of a mind to jump to conclusions, bears a vague resemblance to the notorious Southern Cross. It had been up during the Olympics. The homeowner was of Norwegian descent, and (perhaps because of the tepid showing of the Americans this year) wanted to show respect for his roots.
Wouldn’t it have been better all the way around if the woman had just approached the alleged white supremacist (or so the assumption goes these days) and inquired on her own? Well, clearly not; then she would have had to look the accused in the eye and own up to her mistake. We’re not that much into personal responsibility these days. Gossip is cleaner.
Far be it from me to pass on a good opportunity to warn about gossip. If you have a problem with me, for instance, don’t go to my wife, or my children, or my neighbor, or the elders. Go to me. Not only is it what the Bible says to do (Luke 17:3), it’s far more effective. You may find out you were mistaken (Proverbs 13:3) — and since you love me as a brother, that’s what you are hoping anyway, right? And I can get to correcting any problem right away instead of waiting for the chain to reach back to me.
It’s worth noting, too, that Luke 17:3 is about someone in sin. If “sin” doesn’t describe what’s going on, maybe not saying anything at all is the way to go. Just a suggestion.