Inevitably, when a community of people live life together problems will occasionally arise. It was true for the first century church (just read 1 Corinthians!), and it is true for the church today. One of the issues prevalent in today’s church is the issue of gossiping. Our human nature simply enjoys the desire to talk about the problems of other people. However, such negative talk always leads to the tearing down, rather than the building up, of the body of Christ. As the issue of gossip has shown up from time to time in the church I serve in, I thought it would be beneficial to jot down some biblical principles for my church to live by. The following are some general guidelines our church seeks to follow. I believe they are helpful in avoiding the temptation to gossip:
Speaking negatively about any ministry or individual among a private group of peers, only serves to tear down the Body of Christ rather than build it up. If there are areas or individuals that you feel need to be addressed for the purposes of improvement, the proper procedure is to personally approach the individual responsible for the problematic area (Matthew 18:15-20). For no reason should your concern be discussed with anyone outside of this context; this results in gossip and inevitably leads to the tearing down of individuals. A good rule of thumb is to simply follow the guidelines of Ephesians 4:29 which states: Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. May we always desire a unified harmony with each other that revolves around grace and kindness.
What do you think about these guidelines? Would you add anything else?