Saturday, June 8, 2013

Have you heard? The Plague of Gossip in Church!!!

Oh how I hate gossip, and until these last several months I have prided myself that I don't participate in it nor have I been the subject of it.

Remember the telephone game we played as a child? You sat in a circle and whispered something simple like, 'she's a girl.' By the time it was whispered to everyone in the circle it turned in to 'she's a nice gorilla.' Well, so it is with gossip in church.

I've learned through the years that truly confident people and those who are walking close with God don't feel the need to gossip. I try hard not to tear others down, it's hurtful and I know when this is done it only invites others to treat you the same. So it is with gossip, if you do it then you're inviting others around you to gossip about you as well. Gossip is also nothing but idle chatter and empty noise, and it's spread and repeated by those who otherwise feel insignificant. Gossip may be fuel to feed your ego, but it causes heart breaks and shatters confidence. It also may give you short lived satisfaction but believe me it'll NEVER propel you forward in life!

I think we all can agree gossip is verbal battery. If you don't agree with me then you've obviously never been the subject of it. What do you gain by spreading gossip? The next time you're around someone who is gossiping ask yourself what you have to gain by repeating it. My guess is, NOTHING!

I started writing this to address gossip in church. This is the one place everyone feels should be free of gossip, right? Nope. Not everyone. Everyone deserves the right to feel secure and safe in God's house. Right? Nope, not everyone according to the few who participate in gossip. Gossip in church leads to a decay of trust. It is painful, a violation, and humiliating. Broadcasting private information about someone exposes the flaws of another for all to judge. Inside the church this leads to an erosion of trust and it ACTUALLY exposes and casts light on the gossiper's flawed character.

God's word is infinite, powerful and alive. But what about our words? Our words are finite, unlike God's word, but our words can be harmful to ourselves and to the body of Christ.

You know the most damaging and hypocritical words someone uses when spreading gossip in church? 'I only mentioned it because I was concerned.' Isn't that a little like the saccharin sweet adage, 'bless her heart." We all know it's said with malice and there's no concern or blessing in either of those statements.

Gossip accuses people. It charges others with wrong. People love to talk about the alleged actions of others. Gossip slanders the person sitting beside you in church, it destroys a person's character and reputation. People who say anything that pops in to their minds spread gossip. Just listening to gossip makes YOU an accomplice. If someone comes to you with gossip it's as simple as, DO NOT LISTEN, WALK AWAY! You may think talking about others will not hurt anything because you are just stating what you have 'heard' as fact, but you're wrong. When someone says something that will hurt another they are disobeying God.

NEWS FLASH people! If you gossip about someone you are judging them. And if you're a Christian you know there is only one judge and that is God. Be careful you don't trample on God's law and make your own. You're treading on some dangerous ground when you believe you're God's equal and have the authority to judge others.

And let's talk about SLANDER! Such a harsh word isn't it? When does gossip go from idle chatter to slander and harassment? Isn't it sad that you profess to want to help others, lift your brothers and sisters up, but yet you want to spread 'juicy" gossip and slander another's character? You're the first one in line to throw stones at the one you think has wronged you. Did you know effectively, slander is information which presents a damaging view of someone, whether it's done innocently or maliciously? In the New Testament there are several Scriptures about gossip and slander. James 4:11 tells us, "Brothers, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgement of it." AND 1 Peter 2:1 says "Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind." There are many Scriptures prohibiting gossip and slander; I HIGHLY recommend if you're someone who can't help but partake in malicious gossip, whether you're repeating it or listening to it that you sit yourself between the covers of your Bible and become a little familiar with God's Word.

So, TAKE A STAND! Be the person to say the buck stops here and make sure gossip always stops with you. Never circulate something or be an audience to words of something that you're not proud to be a part of.

"Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." Ephesians 4:29