1 Timothy 5:19 Do not entertain an accusation against an elder unless it is brought by two or three witnesses.
On October 30, 1968 Marvin Gaye released his hit single “I Heard It Through The Grapevine.” The tune was catchy and even covered by the California Raisins (yes that was a thing). It’s a song about a rumor he has heard. The rumor? That his love has left him for someone else.
Don’t you know that I heard it through the grapevine
Not much longer would you be mine
Oh I heard it through the grapevine
Oh I’m just about to lose my mine – Honey, honey yeah
Now poor Marvin was heartbroken. His love was gone and he didn’t even hear it from her! I don’t know if the rumor turned out to be true; the song doesn’t say. It’s mostly just about the rumor.
The message of the song was clear – rumors stink! Yes they do. Paul wrote to Timothy that he ought to be careful about rumors. Because the truth is, people in leadership will get talked about. They will get accused of things. It seems that when people hear bad things about people in charge, they jump on the bandwagon before any truth is discovered. For some reason, people like to see leaders fall.
As Christians, we aren’t to be boarding the rumor train. Instead, we need to be seekers of the truth. That’s why Paul said not to start accusing leaders unless there are some witnesses. He wanted to avoid this “your word against mine” mess that ruins people. So the next time we start pointing fingers at people, we ought to step back and wait for truth. And in the meantime, it wouldn’t hurt to pray for them. Because if they have truly done some things that will lead to their fall, they are going to need the same grace of God that covers all of our failures.