How to Kill Gossip

How to Kill Gossip

Dan Phillips has some great practical advice on how to deal with gossip within the church.

Ask, “Why are you telling me this?” Often, that in itself is such a focusing question that it can bring an end to the whole unpleasant chapter. It has the added benefit that it can help a person whose intentions are as good as his/her judgment is bad.

Ask, “What’s the difference between what you’re telling me and gossip?” See above; same effect, same potential benefits.

Ask, “How is your telling me that thought, that complaint, that information going to help you and me love God and our brothers better, and knit us closer together as a church in Christ’s love?” Isn’t that the goal we should share, every one of us? Won’t it take the working of each individual member (Eph. 4:16)? Isn’t the watch-out for harmful influences an every-member ministry (Heb. 3:12-13; 10:24; 13:12-15)?

Ask, “Now that you’ve told me about that, what are you going to do about it?” While the previous two are subjective, this is not. If neither of the previous two questions succeeded in identifying gossip/whispering/sowing-dissension for what they are, the answer to this question will do so. Tip: If the answer is “Pray,” a good response might be “Then why didn’t you do that and leave it there in the first place?”

Say, “Now that you’ve told me about that, you’ve morally obligated me to make sure you talk to __________ about it. How long do you think you need, so I can know when this becomes a sin that I will need to confront in you?” The least that this will accomplish is that you’ll fall off the list of gossips’/whisperers’ favorite venting-spots. The most is that you may head off a church split, division, harmed souls, sidelined Gospel ministry, and waylaid discipleship. Isn’t that worth it?

Challenge: Pray for the courage to stop gossip in its tracks. This week, if you hear gossip or are tempted to share information that is not yours, ask that first question - "Why are you telling me this?" or for yourself, "Why am I saying this?" Conversely, choose someone to share something positive about and see how those kind words can build someone up.

Related Posts