“And when the children of Israel heard of it, the whole congregation of the children of Israel gathered themselves together at Shiloh, to go up to war against them.”
The major portion of the war was over. Joshua had divided the land between the tribes of Israel, and when all of this was done, he sent the two and a half tribes back to their possession on the other side of Jordan. Before these two and a half tribes crossed over the Jordan, they set up an altar as a reminder for their children to remember the great works that God did for them in giving them the land.
It says in the verse above, “And when the children of Israel heard of it…” Someone told the rest of the tribes that the two and a half tribes had set up an altar to another god. The ten tribes gathered themselves together to go to war against their brethren because of hearsay. Fortunately, Phinehas, the priest, was wise enough to listen to the two and a half tribes explanation of the altar, and his wisdom in listening before acting prevented them from making a big mistake.
Imagine if Phinehas had not stopped the ten tribes from going to war against the two and a half tribes, innocent people would have died because of what someone said that wasn’t the whole truth. The wisdom in getting the other side’s explanation of what happened saved the lives of many men and kept a false narrative from hurting many families.
A very important lesson can be learned from this story, and that lesson is the importance of not forming an opinion on what you hear someone say. Just because someone says something doesn’t mean it is true. It doesn’t matter how true it sounds; you should never form an opinion on anything from hearsay. Many people have been hurt because of the accusation of another, only to find out years later after the damage had been done to a life that the hearsay was not true or was not the whole truth.
Moreover, you should always listen to the other side of the story, even if what you have heard may be true. In the story above, what these tribes heard about an altar being set up was true, but there was more to the story that changed the meaning of what they first heard. Most of what you hear from hearsay is half of the story. You would be wise to listen to the whole story before you take action on anything. What someone tells you may be true, but it may not be the whole story. Half of the story makes the narrative false because the whole story is what allows you to see the whole picture of what happened. Many have heard half of the story and formed an opinion, and the opinion caused them to carry a false narrative about someone for years, which caused them to have a wrong impression about that person.
My friend, just because you have heard something, or just because you have read something on digital media platforms, does not make something true. Let me also remind you that there are times when you don’t need to form an opinion that is not in your area. There are many times people tell me something that I tell them I don’t need to have an opinion or a judgment on because it is not my area to have an opinion or a judgment. You can make life much easier if you stop thinking that you have to make a statement or form an opinion about everything that you hear. When you hear something, ask yourself if it is in your area; if it is not, don’t form an opinion. If it is in your area, wait until you hear the other side before you form your judgment on what you heard.