What is destroying our churches today? Is it adultery? Is it pornography? Is it lying? No doubt these sins are all serious and problematic but they do not come close to doing as much damage in churches as one oft-ignored sin…GOSSIP.
Gossip is like a virus.
It spreads so easily and effortlessly. One word of innuendo can affect and infect an entire church rapidly. Gossip is the sin that we can so easily disguise by calling it a “concern” or spreading it under the guise of a “prayer request.”
Many people have become so good at disguising gossip that they no longer see it as such. In fact, often pastors and church staff are the biggest perpetrators because they are in the know. Add the fact that they “ought to know” the story becomes more credible.
Gossips love to cite their source if it is someone in a leadership position both to enhance the credibility of their story as well as to justify their telling of it. After all, “deacon so and so told me.”
Gossip has many victims but three especially stand out.
1. The teller.
2. The listener.
3. The one being discussed.
All three are hurt when this sin is committed. Sadly the listener almost always develops into the teller so the virus spreads from one to another to another until it has saturated the church. Now everyone is carrying the virus and the one about who they are speaking is left with a damaged reputation. Seldom do those who hear it question the integrity of one who would spread a story so they can maintain their good reputation even while hurting another’s.
Gossip creates bitterness towards the one slandered.
Gossip makes judges and juries out of others.
Gossip takes our minds off the more important spiritual matters.
Gossip breeds self-righteousness.
Gossip destroys relationships.
Gossip does not cure the problem but spreads its virus.
Gossip quenches the spirit of God in many a service.
Gossip brings reproach upon Christ.
Gossip is the sin that seldom faces disciplinary action because it is so often committed by big givers and people of some influence and “power.” Saintly appearing people certainly can’t be expected to be disciplined before the church if they fail to repent of gossip. That
is reserved for adulterers and their sort, not the one who spreads juicy stories while asking for prayer. Yes, we have made this sin acceptable even respectable in many of our churches. But that is not how God sees it.
“These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him. A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh
lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.”
Hmmm, adultery is not mentioned but gossip certainly is found throughout these things. We have derogatory names for those who commit the sins we don’t like but we speak carefully about those who commit the sins God hates.
Revival most often comes to churches when the people within a church get right with each other. We all have seen or at least heard it. So why wait for revival? Why not stay revived by dealing with this sin in a timely and consistent manner? Why don’t we stop turning our heads and covering up this sin? Why don’t we make this sin one that is most unwelcome in our midst?
Why? Maybe it is because we like it.