Gossip and the Sewing Machine

Gossip is condemned in James 3:6; 1 Tim. 5:13, and a number of other places in the Bible. Many times gossip is harmful because a word is misunderstood or taken out of context. Several years ago the California Newspaper Publisher’s Association told of a typographical error in a small-town newspaper which caused much turmoil. The ad in the classified section read like this:

(Monday). “FOR SALE — R.D. Jones has one sewing machine for sale. Phone 948-0707 after 7 P.M. and ask for Mrs. Kelly who lives with him cheap.”

(Tuesday). “NOTICE — We regret having erred in R.D. Jones’ ad yesterday. It should have read: One sewing machine for sale. Cheap. Phone 948-0707 and ask for Mrs. Kelly who lives with him after 7 P.M.”

(Wednesday). “NOTICE — R.D. Jones has informed us that he has received several annoying telephone calls because of the error we made in his classified ad yesterday. His ad stands corrected as follows:

FOR SALE — R.D. Jones has one sewing machine for sale. Cheap. Phone 948-0707 and ask for Mrs. Kelly who loves with him.”

(Thursday). “NOTICE — I, R.D. Jones, have no sewing machine for sale. I smashed it. Don’t call 948-0707 as the telephone has been taken out. I have not been carrying on with Mrs. Kelly. Until yesterday she was my housekeeper, but she quit.”

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