Central Baptist Church of Southington Connecticut


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Gossip

  • Jim Townsley
  • May 22, 2018

Churches are built with imperfect people. God’s saving grace changes a person by giving them a new nature. However, new believers soon learn that the old nature has not been eradicated. Generally the immediate change that comes at salvation has an initial effect, but in time the old nature can creep back into one’s behavior. Reverting back to old ways can involve a divisive and damaging sin we call gossip. Most people never admit they are gossiping though they will consider others guilty of this very issue. The Scripture is very clear concerning the sin of gossip. And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not. -- 1 Timothy 5:13.   

Everyone has experienced the harm of gossip. Whether the people talking didn't mean direct harm, the result of gossip is always broken trust and hurt feelings. Gossip can be defined as information about the behavior or personal life of other people, often without the full truth revealed or known. God's Word warns us to stay away from people who gossip and to guard our words when we speak about others. If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain. -- James 1:26 

A young church can be greatly affected by every form of gossip and slander.  Pastors must be keenly aware of it and when it is detected it must be dealt with immediately. Periodically gossip can be mentioned in a sermon and occasionally an entire message can be assigned to the topic. In fact, this sin should be regularly stated as a cancer to the body of Christ whether you as the pastor are aware of any problem or not. There are some topics that should be mentioned yearly or some even monthly and this sin should be preached about periodically.

No person should ever be singled out in a sermon. When it is clear a certain person is guilty they should be contacted privately. In some cases the pastor should take another man or his wife with him when dealing with this issue. The Bible states that when an offense occurs there is a protocol that should be followed. Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican. -- Matthew 18:15-17.  If an offending party is unwilling to repent and be restored they are to be dismissed from the church. This is called church discipline and though it is never easy to administer sometimes it is necessary. A froward man soweth strife: and a whisperer separateth chief friends.-- Proverbs 16:28. 

Sometimes gossip is hidden and even though the preacher may have a sense that something is going on it may be hard to identify. Therefore it is imperative that the pastor develop key men in the church to be aware of these kinds of issues so that they can protect the preacher and the church itself. Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. -- Ephesians 4:29. A clear guide to follow concerning gossip is; if you’re not part of the problem or you’re not part of the solution you should not be involved in conversation. We must all learn to guard our tongue and speak words that are edifying.