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A woman named Marilyn Helleberg told about being a teenager at church camp. She said an ugly rumor got started there about two of the counselors and it quickly became the talk of the camp.

The next day, at Morning Prayer, the minister read the story of the adulterous woman. He spoke of Jesus telling the crowd that if any person who had no sin they could cast the first stone. And one by one, those who had come to stoned her to death walked away.

Then the minister passed around a bucket of stones and insisted that we each take one and carry it in our pocket throughout the remainder of camp. Any time we felt like criticizing someone else or talking behind another's back or passing on an ugly rumor we were to reach into the pocket, touch the stone and ask ourselves if we were without sin.

That shut down the gossiping. Because true love remembers how much Jesus has forgiven us and - because of that - refuses to "delight in evil" and the spreading of gossip.

(From a sermon by Jeff Strite, Love Me Nots, 2/21/2011)

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