Wagging Tails and Tongues
The newspaper declared that Pep had taken the life of the cat of the governor’s wife—but he didn’t do it. The only thing he may have been guilty of was chewing the sofa at the governor’s mansion.
Pep was a rambunctious young Labrador retriever owned by Pennsylvania’s governor Gifford Pinchot in the 1920s. The dog actually was sent to Eastern State Penitentiary, where his mug shot was taken with a prisoner identification number. When a newspaper reporter heard about it, he made up the cat story. Because his report appeared in the newspaper, many believed Pep really was a cat-killer.
Israel’s King Solomon knew well the power of misinformation. He wrote, “The words of a gossip are like choice morsels, they go down to the inmost parts” (Proverbs 18:8). Sometimes our fallen human nature causes us to want to believe things about others that aren’t true.
Yet even when others believe untruths about us, God can still use us for good. In reality, the governor sent Pep to prison so he could be a friend to the inmates there—and that he served for many years as a pioneer therapy dog.
God’s purposes for our lives still stand, regardless of what others say or think. We should certainly avoid the sin of gossip, yet when others sin by gossiping about us, remember that God’s opinion—and His love for us—is what matters most.