Why Do We Give a Wink and a Nod to the Church Gossip

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by saturneptune, Dec 24, 2012.

  1. saturneptune

    saturneptune
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    Why do we as church members and leaders tolerate church gossip? We have no problem attacking alcohol, drugs, sexual sin, abortion, gay rights, dancing, gambling, etc, etc, but ignore the church gossip. Why do we minimize this?

    There are too many verses to list that talk about the tongue, talebearers, gossips, false witness, people that create discord among the church members and the like. For example from Proverbs

    Proverbs 18:21
    English Standard Version (ESV)

    21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue,
    and those who love it will eat its fruits.

    One can spot them a mile away. Here they come again with another story. There can only be two reasons to tell such a story.

    1. They are interested in seeking your help in restoring the person to the Lord as prescribed in Matthew or
    2. They get their jollies from spreading tales at the expense of others sins or misfortune.

    Once I figure out it is number 2, I end the conversation and walk away. More reputations have been destroyed from the tongue than any other source. Sometimes these reputations took years to build. From the perspective of the gossip, it makes no difference if the story is true or not. It is a source of evil enjoyment, yet we do nothing about it.

    Here are a few more verses.

    Proverbs 21:23 ESV
    Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble.

    Ecclesiastes 3:7 ESV
    A time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

    1 Peter 3:10 ESV
    For “Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit;

    Matthew 12:36-37 ESV
    I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

    Proverbs 12:18 ESV
    There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.

    James 1:26 ESV
    If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person's religion is worthless.

    Proverbs 29:20 ESV
    Do you see a man who is hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him.

    James 3:6-10 ESV
    And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.

    James 3:8 ESV
    But no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.

    James 3:1-18
    Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body. If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! ...

    Hebrews 4:12
    For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

    Proverbs 10:19 ESV
    When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent.

    Proverbs 17:27 ESV
    Whoever restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding.

    Proverbs 10:8 ESV
    The wise of heart will receive commandments, but a babbling fool will come to ruin.

    1 John 1:9 ESV
    If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

    James 3:6 ESV
    And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell.

    1 John 4:1 ESV
    Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.

    Proverbs 6:16-19 ESV
    There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers.

    Proverbs 20:19 ESV
    Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets; therefore do not associate with a simple babbler.

    Matthew 5:22 ESV
    But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.

    Psalm 1:1-6 ESV
    Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; ...

    1 Timothy 3:1-16 ESV
    The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God's church? ...

    John 8:44 ESV
    You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father's desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

    Luke 13:1-35 ESV
    There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” ...

    Matthew 18:1-35 ESV
    At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, ...

    Matthew 12:1-50 ESV
    At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry, and they began to pluck heads of grain and to eat. But when the Pharisees saw it, they said to him, “Look, your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath.” He said to them, “Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, and those who were with him: how he entered the house of God and ate the bread of the Presence, which it was not lawful for him to eat nor for those who were with him, but only for the priests? Or have you not read in the Law how on the Sabbath the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath and are guiltless? ...

    Matthew 7:21-23 ESV
    “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

    Psalm 12:3-4 ESV
    May the Lord cut off all flattering lips, the tongue that makes great boasts, those who say, “With our tongue we will prevail, our lips are with us; who is master over us?”

    We are not doing anyone in the church who practices this any favors by letting this pass. The only thing that sends someone to hell is not being a Christian, however, a gossip that destroys at every chance is not the mark of a Christian.
     
    #1 saturneptune, Dec 24, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 24, 2012
  2. Herald

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    Why?

    Because it is one of the simplest forms of self-gratification. It feeds our ego to either give gossip or to receive it. It seems innocuous enough, but it can destroy people and relationships. It can even destroy churches.
     
  3. Scarlett O.

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    Just my personal opinion and two cents....

    Three reasons:

    [1] We tolerate gossip in the church because we participate in it so readily and stubbornly refuse to admit it. As you say, the intent it the key. I feel that if information is "shared" and is not for [a] the restoration of person or persons or presenting the information to the party or parties who are able to bring about restoration the quickest and most gently and most Godly - then that sharing is sinful gossip. Gossip is so subtle and many times masked as "concern" for the welfare of other people or other families. Just as Satan was subtle and masked the Truth of God with a lie and deceived Eve, we are tricked and deceived into thinking that our long and drawn out prayer requests and sharing our concerns privately with others is benign. It's anything but benign.

    [2] We have come to view gossip as a cartoonish caricature of what it really is. If it isn't a bunch old "hens" standing around cackling or a bunch of old "roosters" standing around crowing and griping, then we don't consider it gossip. I believe that the worst kind of gossip is between two people - intimately whispering, judging, mocking, scorning, complaining, and exaggerating what they have heard. We call it "venting" to a brother or sister - pouring our frustrations out. But it's just gossip.

    [3] Lastly and worst of all, we don't see the evil destruction that gossip does - to the victim of gossip AND the spreader. Many times the spreader of information does so because they have a grudge against that person or they aren't in good fellowship with them or they plain out just don't like them. That's not too far from hate. And Jesus said that hate was murder in the heart. How many time have we called gossip nothing more than character assassination? I think it's true. “With his mouth the godless destroys his neighbor” (Prov. 11:9).

    Here's some good things to remember about gossip that I found this morning.

     
  4. Revmitchell

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    I have had to deal with it. It was members of my church gossiping with members of another church about what they did not like at ours. This included the previous pastor of the church where I am at and replaced. He now attends the other church. They were all gossiping and backbiting about what was going on in our church. Add to that the issue was about including Navajo's in leadership. They wanted the church to remain largely a white church.


    They have left because I would not let it stand and still continue to do it.
     
  5. SolaSaint

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    I guess it also depends on our definition of gossip. Is it only gossip when it is to hurt someone? I've heard someone say that before. What one person deems gossip another would just call small talk. I think a group of men talking about the pastor or the type of services at their church can be constructive if done Christlike, but if overheard may be taken as gossip. We must be careful what we call gossip. But I know there is gossip in most of the churches I've been in and I am guilty of winking at it. I guess I'm afraid if I confront it, I will become the next object of gossip.

    Merry Christmas
     
  6. Aaron

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    Depending on the subject, I just say, "Who cares?" Gossip between churches about their pastors. Really? As if there could be anything less consequencial--unless what they're saying is true.
     
  7. Revmitchell

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    It is very consequential.
     
  8. saturneptune

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    That is correct, and just as sinful and subject to church discipline as drunkedness, infidelity, and all of our other pet sins we have put on our human pedestal.
     
  9. Revmitchell

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    Gossips intent is always to cause division. When it occurs in the church it is often a tool to create sides and to win the battle over what one wants done or practiced in the church. It should never be allowed.
     
  10. TadQueasy

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    Correct, and I think a solid argument could be made that gossip is more consequential to a church body than drunkenness, infidelity...
     
  11. saturneptune

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    Yes, and the logic for that would be when I gossip, I am destroying reputations and families that took years to build. In most cases, these other sins hurt the person committing the offense except maybe drunk driving. Gossipers are vultures that do not suffer the same consequences that many of these other sins do. They spread their evil unchecked. If they could be thrown in jail like the drunks, it might stop.
     
  12. Revmitchell

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    The gossipers in my church left when I and the chairman of the deacons challenged them on it. They refused to even address the issue. They just got up and left the church.

    Interestingly enough I had two other pastors who rebuked me for it and said I should have just let them alone and discipled them. This seems to be a common ideology. And it is a shame.
     
  13. Van

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    Are we gossiping about gossipers? Finding fault with others, and indirectly telling ourselves we are holier than thou? I remember a thread attacking Pastor Rick Warren, full of all sorts of fault finding, much of it shown to be the work of false witnesses.

    Scripture teaches that if we have an issue with a fellow brother or sister in Christ, we should meet with them, one on one, and discuss the issue. Have we done this with the subjects of this thread?

    What does scripture teach about those who constantly find fault with others? What are the passages that we need to study. The OP addressed the many passages that tell us to watch what we say and to build other up, not tear them down, but what are the passages that tell us what is behind those who find fault and spread their observations like a contagion.
     
  14. Revmitchell

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    This ideology is the reason gossip goes on in the church and division is created. You need to read all of scripture not just your cherry picked version.
     
  15. saturneptune

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    This thread is basically about gossip within the local church and the damage it does to the work of the Lord.
     
  16. SaggyWoman

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    We shouldn't tolerate it but rather bring people face to face with it to work out issues.

    We shouldn't even call them "prayer requests" and really, it be gossip.
     
  17. gb93433

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    I am convinced that too often gossip is so rampant that people see it as usual talk and accept it as just news. They often do not know the difference between gossip and news.
     
  18. Revmitchell

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  19. Iconoclast

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    Scarlett O.

    Good and helpful post!
     
  20. Iconoclast

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    Some of this stems from failing to understand what the Lordship of Jesus Christ is about in the life of believers.

    There is a false teaching that separates law from grace in a believer.
    We are not our own we are bought with a price;

    19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?

    20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.

    This applies to our thought life and speech.

    In a positive way we are to speak to glorify God...and edify others.
    We are to use our bodily faculties to God's glory.

    As in Eph 4......the negative and sinful things we used to do, are replaced by a command to do that which is Kingdom worthy...in thought word and deed.

    Backbiting,gossip, bearing false witness, does not obey these biblical directives. If we refused to listen to gossip.....saying...excuse me this is not something i need to know.....it would cut off a lot of it.
     
    #20 Iconoclast, Dec 25, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 25, 2012

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