Triple Filter Test
In ancient Greece, Socrates was reputed to hold knowledge in high esteem. One day an acquaintance met the great philosopher and said, "Do you know what I just heard about your friend?"
"Hold on a minute," Socrates replied. "Before telling me anything, Id like you to pass a little test. Its called the Triple Filter Test. Before you talk to me about my friend, it might be a good idea to take a moment and filter what youre going to say. Thats why I call it the Triple Filter Test.
The first filter is TRUTH. "Have you made absolutely sure that what you are about to tell me is true?
"No," the man said, "actually I just heard about it."
"All right," said Socrates. "So you don't really know if its true or not."
Now lets try the second filter, the filter of GOODNESS. "Is what you are about to tell me about my friend something good?"
"No, on the contrary," the man said.
"So," Socrates continued, "you want to tell me something bad about him, but youre not certain its true."
You may still pass the test though, because theres one ifiter left: the ifiter of USEFULNESS. "Is what you want to tell me about my friend going to be useful to me?"
"No, not really," the man replied sheepishly.
"Well," concluded Socrates, "if what you want to tell me is neither true nor good nor even useful, why tell it to me at all?"
I dont know whether or not this story really happened. But it illustrates principles that are important for Christians. Gods messengers have this to say:
"A troublemaker plants seeds of strife; gossip separates the best of friends." Proverbs 16:28 NLT
"What dainty morsels rumors are -- but they sink deep into ones heart." Proverbs 18:8 NLT
"I will not tolerate people who slander their neighbors. I will not endure conceit and pride." Psalms 10 1:5 NLT
"If we keep uppermost in our minds the unkind and unjust acts of others we shall find it impossible to love them as Christ has loved us; but if our thoughts dwell upon the wondrous love and pity of Christ for us, the same spirit will flow out to others. We should love and respect one another, notwithstanding the faults and imperfections that we cannot help seeing. Humility and self-distrust should be cultivated, and a patient tenderness with the faults of others. This will kill out all narrowing selfishness and make us large-hearted and generous." Steps to Christ, p. 121
"The spirit of gossip and tale bearing is one of Satans special agencies to sow discord and strife, to separate friends, and to undermine the faith of many in the truthfulness of our positions." Adventist Home, p. 441
How many family and church problems could be avoided if we used the triple filter test each time someone wants to share gossip?
Sincerely your friend,