Last month my family and I went on our annual family camping trip. We have been traveling with some of the same families for the past five years and there are always lots of kids, activities, and some practical jokes.
This year’s trip, however, was a little different. There were twice as many families as last year, and not everyone knew each other. But somehow, everyone had heard about the practical jokes I participated in and there were expectations larger than reality. This was all based on a few past pranks I pulled off with other pranksters. Before I knew it people were watching out for “Mr. Blackstone.”
I was getting blamed for all kinds of stuff. The truth was I was too busy and too tired to do everything that I was being blamed for. At one point, I even had one kid come up to me and say, “Mr. Blackstone, my dad and I were the ones who let the air out of your [bike] tire for what you did to our door.” I didn’t even know who the kid was, or what cabin he was staying in.
I have to admit there was an element of fun in taking the blame for everything. It let the real pranksters get away with everything free and clear. As a result, my family became the victims of pranks and we had no idea who did them (well, we had some idea).
On the way home, snickering to myself, I thought about all the good jokes that got played and what I could do next year. Then it occurred to me how fast rumors travel. Accurate or not, word traveled at the speed of light. It was kind of funny how other parents and kids thought I did all those things. I’m not saying I didn’t have a little fun.
Camping was good, clean fun, but it also proved a great life lesson. Just like the game telephone, the more the information is passed to one another, the more the facts get distorted and blown out of proportion. It made me wonder how much of what I hear and pass along to others is actually truth? Do I form opinions of others or even judge them based on hearsay? I am accountable for what I say about others. God doesn’t take gossip lightly and neither should we. We could really damage someone’s reputation, which could take years to repair. A good reputation is desired above riches.
So the next time you hear something about someone be careful. Ask yourself, should I be listening to this? Should I be repeating this? Will you spread a rumor or stop a rumor that could destroy a good reputation? Love covers a multitude of sins. Let everything you do be done in love.
Now I will admit I am partly responsible for my prankster reputation on our camping trips and I will do my best to live up to that reputation. We all had a great time. And just for clarification, I had nothing to do with the Vaseline on the doorknobs.