I have to admit, after 6 years I was seriously considering leaving my church and finding another place to worship. There was gossip spreading about me and my family and it really hurt. It wasn't the story behind the gossip that hurt so much, but what really hurt was the fact that some people thought my family would actually do something like that. Before I go any farther I want you all to know that I am not going to point out anyone or their actions in this blog, but I felt God was calling me to do talk about gossip. It is my prayer and hope that our church can grow more personal and intimate, but I feel the biggest barrier to that growth, and a major tool of our enemy, will be the tongues of our members. In the development of this story I found that a lot of things can be considered gossip and that I myself have been guilty of gossip. The definition I like to use is talking about someone to someone else who cannot help the situation.
The Apostle Paul was afraid that gossip would destroy the church(2 cor. 12:20). In fact, he listed gossip in the same sentence as God-haters, slanderers, murderers, and others. It is very important that we unite around what God says about our conduct and speech, and bring our lives into compliance with His will for His people. Gossip is condemned from the very earliest times in the Old Testament all the way down to the end of the New Testament, and even though it is condemned like this in the Bible, it is still a problem in most, if not all, Christian churches today. Let's just stop and think for a moment. If my family and I were the target of gossip, how many more people in our church have been the target of gossip? How many have been hurt, maybe even mortally wounded by the careless comment of someone in the church? Too many I am sure. That is a frightening thought. We all expect to hear gossip at work, or maybe a ballgame, or even at a PTA meeting, but noone expects to hear it at church. One of the biggest reasons I think gossip happens in church is beceause people are thinking they are helping, or being noble, but the outcome is still sinful. Let me give you an example. per.1: I was sure glad to see Jane at worship this morning. per.2: Me too, I know she has been struggling lately. Now if they would have stopped there, everything would have been fine, but,
per2. cont: John and Jane have been fighting a lot, I heard he was a bit to friendly with his secretary at work. per.1: She has been busy with work, maybe she should spend a little more time at home. Now I am sure they started out meaning well when this conversation started, trying to help Jane with her problem. But, was there any help there? That is assuming they even had the story right. This does nothing to help, it makes Jane and John objects of curiosity, and in the case of John, scorn. Anyway you cut it, and whatever motive you attach to it, it is still gossip. Gossip is incredibly common and incredibly destructive. There is no place for gossip anywhere, but especially in the church. What would happen if every peice of gossip lived or died with you, would it live or die? Stop gossip by refusing to repeat it. Keep count for the next week. How many pieces of gossip did you kill? You might be surprised.