False Witness

Life issues: False Witness


The dangers of lies and gossip

It is human nature to talk about others. We are naturally interested in the relationships and personalities that surround us. However there are times when gossip can be a very dangerous thing.

“I’ll show you, Goodie Miller” vindicates Sarah Kent following a reprimand by Anne early in the episode. In False Witness, gossip is combined with jealousy, ignorance and lies. As a result, the consequences are very nearly disastrous.

Rumours can start from virtually nothing and can quite easily ruin somebody’s life. Observe, in False Witness, how fast the talk of witchcraft spreads due to the narrow views of locals, particularly Reverend Judd.

In our own environment, we need only look at the power of the media and the tabloids to see people condemned publicly with very little proof.

Perhaps you can think of a situation when you have heard a rumour and found out later that it was false.

When you heard the rumour did you act on it straight away or did you want to find out more?
People like to make judgements but often their judgements are based only on gut feeling or what somebody else told them. There is a reason why in most countries, the law says that people are innocent until proven guilty. We need to think about this when we hear a rumour. We certainly should have a good amount of ‘evidence’ to reach a verdict.

Many people also like to categorise individuals. People can brand others too lazy, too serious, too uptight… just about anything they like without much to back it up. Before you know it somebody has a reputation which can affect the way they are perceived. Yes, gossip can certainly be a dangerous thing.


If you hear a rumour…. consider all factors

When we hear something about somebody it is important that we first consider all the facts. We need to look at the situation from both sides.

Then ask yourself if it is your business… does it actually concern you? If it doesn’t concern you, it should probably be ignored. If the rumour is that important, find out as much as you can from reliable sources. It may even be appropriate to go to the ‘horse’s mouth’, the person who is the subject of the rumour, and actually discuss it in a sensitive way.

They used to say during the war that ‘loose talk costs lives.’ Anne almost lost hers and many peoples lives are affected negatively each day through just this.

It is not a good idea to believe everything you hear. It is a good idea to consider all factors, refraining from judgement before finally reaching an opinion.