Presidential politics dominates the airwaves these days. Debates, interviews, endless talking head analyzation and political games clog the media. Exaggerations, lies, rumors, counter-rumors, gossip and character assassinations overflow the cesspool of presidential politics. This is nothing new, but it is more pronounced because of our 24/7 access to news and pseudo-news.

In reality, much of the political arena is flooded with mean-spiritedness. Even the best and most honorable candidates find themselves “forced” to turn campaigns negative because of attacks by their opponents. Lost in all of this is the truth. Voters have a difficult time getting to a candidate’s real views or platform because of the barrage of attack dog information released to damage opponents.

One reason rumor, gossip, half-truth and character assassination are practiced in the political arena centers on our sinful nature, which is ready to hear the worst about others. It is easier to believe the bad about another person than to believe the good. In politics all one needs to do is place an ad that insinuates a negative trait or plants a seed of doubt, and in the blink of an eye, it is perceived as truth.

I wish presidential politics was the only realm in which this kind of thing exists. Tragically, it is too often found among those of us who are called by the Name that is above every name. The very people who are to be known by the love they have for one another are duped into being receptors of gossip, half-truth, lies and exaggerations about brothers and sisters in the faith.

It is amazing how easily and quickly we receive and believe negative things about others. Even more destructive is our tendency to pass on such information. Why do we not first reject gossip, innuendo and rumor about another brother and believe unfavorable things only when proven? I could psychologize and philosophize about this, but I think the answer is simple. We choose to believe the worse.

Some years ago (it could have been yesterday, because as a public figure these things happen regularly) a member of my church called and asked me to visit. When I got to her home she informed me someone had told her something that she wanted me to verify or deny. She then proceeded to tell me the blatant lie that had been passed to her. I gave her the truth regarding the matter and told her plainly that what she had heard was a lie based on rumor and gossip. I will never forget her words. “Pastor, I told them I would not believe such a thing unless you looked me in the eye and told me it was the truth.” Wow! How refreshing! No-how utterly loving and Christian of her.

The church too often operates like a presidential race. We believe too quickly the negative about another person. Our ears are too prone to listen to character attacks, rumor and gossip and equate them with truth. Perhaps a better approach would be to ask the wagging tongue to cease and desist. Just maybe it is time to expect and believe the best about someone until proven otherwise.

Gossip, rumor, innuendo, exaggeration, lies and attacks on others have no place in presidential elections. When it comes to the church, they should be considered an abomination.