I remember reading that years ago on Westchester Evangelical Free Church’s sign. It has stuck with me still. A gossip is truly a relationship killer. Gossips poison conversation, they are divisive and unfortunately very prevalent in the Church. I’ve had to deal with gossip in my 15 years of youth ministry. I’ve been the subject of it, and I’ve had people come to me with it. I am sure I’ve been guilty of it at times. I was recently a victim of it again. I’m sure the person meant well by it, that person probably thought they were doing what was right, but ultimately what it does is destroy unity in the body of Christ. I decided to look at some scripture on the subject.

A man who lacks judgment derides his neighbor, but a man of understanding holds his tongue. A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy man keeps a secret. For lack of guidance a nation falls, but many advisers make victory sure, (Proverbs 11:12-14, NIV).

A worthless man plots evil, and his speech is like a scorching fire. A dishonest man spreads strife, and a whisperer separates close friends. A man of violence entices his neighbor and leads him in a way that is not good, (Proverbs 16:27-29, ESV).

The mouths of fools are their ruin; they trap themselves with their lips. Rumors are dainty morsels that sink deep into one’s heart, (Proverbs 18:7-8, NLT).

He who goes about as a slanderer reveals secrets, therefore do not associate with a gossip, (Proverbs 20:19, NASB).

Without wood, fire goes out; without a gossip, conflict dies down. As charcoal for embers and wood for fire, so is a quarrelsome man for kindling strife. A gossip’s words are like choice food that goes down to one’s innermost being. Smooth lips with an evil heart are like glaze on an earthen vessel, (Proverbs 26:20-23, HCSB).

I want to encourage you to put a stop to gossip. If you hear it, ask them if they have talked to the person they are referring. If they haven’t let them know they need to talk to that person. Gossip and slander (they usually go hand in hand) are a cancer in the church. I’ve seen them destroy fellowship and create disunity. Many church splits have been a result. Not to mention reputations that are ruined.

If somebody offends you or sins against you – follow Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 18:15-17 – go to that person. Remember also to speak the truth in love, (Ephesians 4:15). Pray and see if it is really necessary to confront. Is it that I was truly offended? Is this really a sin? Perhaps it is just a difference of opinion, philosophy or even personality. Most of all let’s take Peter’s admonishment to heart:

The end of all things is near. Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins, (1 Peter 4:7-8, NIV).

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