I AM – Devotional Style Short Stories – “A Ruined Reputation”

Note: I won’t be posting any more of my “I Am – Devotional Style Short Stories” due to the fact that I will be submitting the full manuscript to my publisher tomorrow. I hope you have enjoyed the sampling I have given and will look forward to the book when it comes out.

***

A Ruined Reputation

            Its Memorial Day week-end and people are honoring the military men and women who are serving and have served, and those who have given their lives for the freedom of the country.  The pools are filled with children laughing and splashing. Grills are filled with meat cooking and the air is filled with the joy of families and friends in back yards playing in sprinklers and tossing balls.

            Bertha has been gone for the day visiting with her family and returns in the late evening. As she slowly passes by the old widow’s home she notices three big pick-up trucks parked in her driveway and wonders who would be visiting the widow.

           She slowly drives on, making sure to notice each and every home and what might have been going on in each during her absence. She’s known as the neighborhood gossip and people are well aware of her vicious and deceptive words.

           The next morning is Sunday and rising early she’s dressed and ready to head off to church. She always attends church and is the first to let everyone know what a good Christian woman she is.

As she drives past the old widow’s home she slows her car to almost a stop as she gasps out loud. “Well I’ll be!” She exclaims. Two of the big pick-ups are still parked in the widow’s driveway and two men are getting into the trucks. As they start their engines she stomps on the gas and speeds away before they can see her.

Entering the church she immediately grabs her friend, Gertrude, by the arm and drags her off to the side away from others.

“Gerty, you won’t believe what I saw this morning!”  She looks around and lowers her voice. “You know the old widow that lives in my subdivision?”

“Yes, You’ve mentioned her before. What about her?”

“Well! You’re just not going to believe this!” She leans in closer to her friend.

“She had, I don’t know how many, men spend the night with her last night!”

“Whaaat?” Gerty exclaims.

“Shhh, not so loud! When I passed her house this morning coming to church I saw men getting in their trucks, right there in her driveway!”

Bertha reaches up and straightens the bun at the back of her head and exclaims, “Well, I never! She had to have an…” She stops and frantically looks around and then cups her hand next to her mouth and whispers, “A regular orgy in that house!”

Another woman walks up to the two women and asks, “What are you two whispering about?”

Bertha quickly checks the surroundings to see if anyone is listening and then expounds on what she witnessed at the old widow’s home. Before long, there are several women gathered in a corner of the room and the story is told over and over. Of course the details are expanded on in each telling.

Sunday school class is let out and as the widow walks down the hall to join the worship service she notices many of the women discreetly point at her and whisper as she walks past. Not being aware of what was told previously she merely shrugs and keeps walking.

Her close friend approaches her and pulls her to the side. “I need to tell you something.” Her friend says and proceeds to tell her the “orgy story” that has quickly passed through the women’s group.

The widow bursts out laughing and laughs so hard tears come to her eyes. Her friend is confused. “This is horrible! How can you laugh?”

The widow cannot contain her laughter and rushes to the ladies room. When she comes out of the stall her friend is waiting by the sink. The widow chuckles and washes her hands.

“Are you going to tell me what this is all about!?”

The widow then explains that her neighbor had several people over and rather than block the street with so many cars he asked if some could park in her driveway and she agreed. A couple of out-of-town friends came and left their trucks parked in her driveway overnight.

She bursts out laughing again and when she can contain the laughter she says, “Oh my! At my age? If I had one man it would be a blessing, but an orgy?” She bursts out laughing again and rushes back into the stall.

 

**

James 1:26 – “If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless.”

**

There is a game, and I don’t know the name of it, but several people stand in a line or in a circle and a story is told to the first person in the line. That person then tells the story to the next and on down the line the story is told. By the time the story reaches the last person in the line one would never know the original story told.

That is exactly how gossip is! Someone sees or hears something without knowing the facts of the situation and then tells it to someone else. By the time it gets around to others the story has been so distorted that it can, and many times, will destroy the person it has been told about.

As Christians we are to keep our mouths shut and our ears closed to gossip! It is hurtful, it is damaging, and it is sin! Had the woman in the story been a fragile personality it could have destroyed her and her fine reputation.

If you don’t have the facts, if you were not there, it is not your business! Walk away and keep your mouth closed!

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