I wish I didn’t need to highlight these posts today, but I realize gossip has been an issue in the church since its inception. Here are three posts about gossiping, followed by ideas for decreasing this problem.
7 Ways to Decrease Gossiping
Now, how do we address this issue?
- Preach and teach on this topic. The Bible has much to say about our words; in fact, Jesus said we will give account for “every careless word” we speak (Matt 12:36-37). Paul even equated gossiping with a corrupt mind (Rom 1:28-32). I can’t remember, though, the last time I heard a sermon—including my own, frankly—on this topic.
- Teach believers to pray about “stuff.” This solution might seem odd, but here’s my point: one reason people talk to others about “stuff” is that they’ve never really learned how to take these issues to God first. They may know they should, but no one’s ever modeled that approach for them or challenged them to follow suit.
- Honestly ask the Lord, “Am I guilty of gossiping?”—and be willing to hear the Spirit’s response. Sometimes we’re the ones who keep gossip flowing. It’s the devil who deceives us into thinking we’re not part of the problem.
- If you’re guilty even of listening to gossip, repent. If you think you’re not really a gossip because you just listen to what others say but don’t repeat it, you’re still contributing to the problem. You might be what I’ve called in another post an “information idolater” who finds power in being in-the-know.
- If you’re guilty of spreading gossip, repent. If you stop talking, others will have no reason to listen—so “don’t let your lips talk deviously” (Prov 4:24). Silence is the enemy of gossip.
- Get busy doing the work of the Lord. According to Paul, it’s often the idle folks who are “gossips and busybodies, saying things they shouldn’t say” (1 Tim 5:13). Get so invested in gospel work through your church that you don’t have time to get caught up in gossip!
- Consider some level of church discipline when gossips create division in the church. At a minimum, we are to “watch out for those who create division” (Rom 16:17). Where church members live a lifestyle of gossip and division, though, the church may need to take stronger action (Titus 3:10). Don’t give your church leaders any cause to take action in your life.