“If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over.” - Matthew 18:15
Four preachers met for a friendly gathering. During the conversation one preacher said, “Our people come to us and pour out their hearts, confess certain sins and needs. Let’s do the same. Confession is good for the soul.” In due time, they all agreed. One confessed he liked to go to movies and would sneak off when away from his church. The second confessed to liking to smoke cigars, and the third one confessed to liking to play cards. When it came to the fourth one, he wouldn’t confess. The others pressed him saying, “Come now, we confessed ours. What is your secret or vice?” Finally, he answered, “It is gossiping, and I can hardly wait to get out of here.”
Gossip is perhaps one of the most destructive yet overlooked sins in the Church today. Nothing can destroy relationships and unity in the body of Christ faster than gossip. The dictionary defines gossip as idle talk or rumor, especially about the personal or private affairs of others. This type of talk is in direct opposition to the Apostle Paul’s description in Ephesians 4:29, which says, “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.”
Gossip has no place in the body of Christ. The Church will never be what God intends for her to be when gossip is present. And nothing will destroy our witness any faster. When outsiders see Christians speaking unkindly about one another, it is an instant turn-off. Jesus told His disciples that they would be known by their love for one another (John 13:35), and the same is true today. Gossip is not loving, therefore it must go.
I recently saw this acronym, which can be helpful in measuring what we say.
T – Is it True?
H – Is it Helpful?
I – Is it Inspiring?
N – Is it Necessary?
K – Is it Kind?
This is a great recipe for us to follow as we weigh our words before deciding whether to speak them.
Gracious Father, please help me to speak in accordance with Your Word. May my words always build up and not tear down. In Jesus’ name, amen.