On Christians Spreading Rumors and Gossip in the Church


Special Note: This article is included in Jim’s book “Christian Devotions & Quick Studies” along with 33 other articles and is available for purchase in Hardback, Paperback and eBook formats at this link:  Jim’s Books

Background:

So why write on this subject? … BECAUSE … nothing hurts a church more than the spreading of false rumors and gossip. Being honest with ourselves, all Christians must admit that at one time or another we have spread rumors. It might be something that is done quietly without serious intent, among just a few “close” friends. What may start off as a somewhat innocent statement can fast become something else as folks down the line add a little spin and/or twist when passing it on the next person. Sometimes the spin and/or twist is intentional … meant to drive home a point, tear down a reputation, or simply put someone’s integrity into question. Let me be quite frank, spreading gossip and rumors are a major tool of the devil.

Long-time Christians have probably heard countless sermons over their lifetime on the dangers of spreading rumors and gossip. Have you become calloused and immune to the topic? Are you too smug to admit that you might be contributing to the problem by either passing along the rumor/gossip or not stopping it in its tracks. Or, are you just pious enough to believe that only others are guilty of this sin?

I’m not a preacher or church staff person. I’m simply a Christian business man, a regular member of my church with a lot of chronological years to my credit. So my thoughts about spreading rumors and gossip don’t come from an exhaustive Biblical study done in a seminary. However, the Bible is absolutely clear on the subject. God thought enough about the topic to include it as the Ninth Commandment. There is absolutely NO room for misinterpretation. Rumors and gossip are sinful and do tremendous damage to the ministry and work of the church.

Scriptures (all NIV unless otherwise noted):

Read these scriptures for yourself and then you decide if you are presently guilty of this sin and in need of repentance.

  • Exodus 20:16 – “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.” (KJV)
  • Leviticus 19:16 – “Do not go about spreading slander among your people. Do not do anything that endangers your neighbor’s life. I am the Lord.”
  • Proverbs 11:13 – “A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy man keeps a secret.”
  • Romans 1:29 – “They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips.”
  • 1 Timothy 5:13 – “Besides, they get into the habit of being idle and going about from house to house. And not only do they become idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying things they ought not to.”
  • Matthew 7:1 – “Do not judge, or you too will be judged.”
  • Proverbs 18:8 – “The words of gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to a man’s inmost parts.”

The following scriptures provide sound advice on how to personally avoid being involved in passing along rumors and gossip and how to stop it in its tracks. The list is in no way exhaustive … just representative.

  • Proverbs 26:20 – “Without wood a fire goes out; without gossip a quarrel dies down.”
  • Deuteronomy 13:14 – “Then you must inquire, probe and investigate it thoroughly.”
  • Matthew 7:12 – “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”
  • Ephesians 4:29 – “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”
  • Proverbs 6:16-19 – “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.” (KJV)
  • I Thessalonians 5:21 – “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.” (KJV)

Reflection:

Even the life of Jesus was subject to hurtful rumor and gossip. Matthew records the words of Jesus in Matthew 11:18-19 (KJV) as He recounts the nasty and sinful statements made about John the Baptist and the Lord Himself: “For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, He hath a devil. The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners …”

Each of us needs to look deep into our lives and hearts. We need to ask, “Is it I, Lord?” “Am I a gossip? Am I spreading rumors and gossip because of jealousy, vengeance, vanity or self-justification. Am I quietly involved in this “secret” sin? Is my family, my friends, or my church suffering because I am passing along half-truths, rumors and gossip?

The Bible teaches us that spreading rumors and gossip is sinful. It is particularly harmful to the church. It is an unhealthy activity that can unnecessarily bring about unjustified harm to church leadership and the Lord’s mission for the church.

You can take immediate action to halt the “rumor mill” in your church by stopping the spread of gossip in its tracks. If you make this a standard practice in your everyday behavior, others will follow your leadership. Kindly tell those spreading rumors that nothing good can result from such and that you don’t make a practice of participating in the rumor mill. Insinuations, gossip and half-truths when repeated often enough somehow become believable … even to the person responsible for initiating the information.

As I close this article, I am reminded of Psalm 51:10 – “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” This verse convicts me. I am committed to doing what is right in the sight of God. Does it convict you?

____________________________________________________________

Related  Articles by Jim Davenport on this subject:

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About jimdavenport

Jim Davenport resides in the USA in Northeast Georgia, is a member of a Southern Baptist Church and is a retired Christian business man. Jim and his wife Charlotte have one son and daughter in law, Keven and Amy, three grandchildren – Ashlyn (Davenport) & Josh Murphy, and Mason Davenport. We have one great-grandchild, Sawyer Joshua Murphy (May 9, 2013 - May 27,2013) and are expecting a second, Rhory Camille Murphy, in September, 2014. Jim and Charlotte own a mountain get-away home located on Lookout Mountain in Alabama where they spend many spring, summer and fall days working in their raised bed organic garden. Jim has served as a Deacon and Trustee in his local church most of his adult life and on the Executive Committee and Finance Committee of the Board of Trustees of Shorter University, an intentionally Christian institution located in Rome, Georgia. Jim has a passion for the word of God and has always believed that Christian principles should guide every aspect of his life. He also loves Christian music and often served as a tenor soloist in his church. One of the highlights of his life was the nearly 20 years he spent singing with The Good News, a Southern Gospel quartet. Jim served as an Information Technology professional his entire working career of 50 years holding senior positions in and consulting with hundreds of world-class organizations in the United States, Canada, Europe, Central and South America, Australia and New Zealand. Jim remains as President and CEO of InfoSys Solutions Associates, Inc. and is a retired partner of IT Governance Partners, LLC, both of which are “Trusted Advisor” technology and business consulting firms. Jim has authored two books and is in the process of finishing a third. His blog is regularly read by readers from more than 120 countries. Jim holds both a BS and an MS in Mathematics from Georgia State University in Atlanta, Georgia and completed Management Development Training at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. ***Note from Jim: I started this blog site to write about topics that would encourage believers to strengthen their Christian faith and non-believers to consider their relationship to God through Jesus Christ. At times my posts are rather passionate and touch on subjects that are controversial. Admittedly, my posts are not very scholarly and are often quite opinionated. However, I always try to provide ample scripture to back up my points. I realize that not everyone will appreciate my point of view, but my prayer is that I will make you think … and in particular think about your relationship to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Your courteous comments are always welcome.***
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10 Responses to On Christians Spreading Rumors and Gossip in the Church

  1. zh says:

    Matthew 7:1 is grossly taken out of context as it is referenced.

    If you quote 7:1, then you also need to bring in 7:2-5.

    We are called to judge those within our church, 1 cor 5. If we didn’t judge those within, how would we be able to test their fruits to see if they are false prophets and teachers Matthew 7:15-20.

    Gossip is the act of spreading lies, or unsure truths. If you see a brother in sin within the church, you take it to him, and if he refuses to listen, you go back to him with 1-2 more people. Is it gossip if you go to a brother or sister, with truth, and say to them “This man is sinning in the church, we need to take it to him?” No. Of course it isn’t. Its taking a truth and finding another witness.

    Now, if the accusations being made have no evidence, and only one person is claiming them, then it is more than likely a false accusation, or rumor. 1 tim 5:19 makes it clear that accusations are going to occur, and if only one person is making the accusation, then its probably not worth taking seriously.

    When a rumor is being spread, it is the job of the Christians that hear it to take it to tell the rumor spreader that they need to go to the person that they are accusing, Matthew 18:15-17. This scripture covers 3 things in this situation. 1) It stops the rumor from being spread, 2) It allows the accused of the rumor an opportunity to be made aware that they may be sinning, 3) It allows for the accused to bring about their defense and set a truth. You can not have a story from 2 points of view and expect to have a full understanding without both sides.

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  2. Pingback: If I Were the Devil | jimdavenport

  3. Milt Camp says:

    Thanks Jim for your blog. I found this due to looking for the words for “Thank you Lord for saving my soul” that I learned back also in the 40 or 50th. Regarding the issue of church gossiping this should also follow in your daily work outside of church.

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    • jimdavenport says:

      Absolutely, Milt. Christians have the duty and responsibility to avoid passing along rumors and gossip in all aspects of their life. God expects that His children will honor Him every day by keeping His teachings. Jim

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  4. carol wilber says:

    I am basically new to this area, and was brought up and taught that you watch your tongues. What you wouldn’t want said unto you , than you shouldn’t say , unto others, or about others. We have trying to get members in the Church and in forth we have a Food Shelve , we provide for the ones in need and had out invites while they come forth for there need, If this gossip is going on inside a Church would you Like to be part of a Church when you here this continuing “Matter going on “. I love the Lord , But walking in and hearing such going’s on it almost makes me sick. We have talk to pastor about this and in past he has mention in Sermons about the tongue and how you treat others. Sermons as such have been “eye openers” to me and kind of made me think before I say anything. I can call myself a Christian , But how can others say that when they can’t follow God’s word when they do this?

    Very Concern Person,

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    • jimdavenport says:

      Carol, I can see your heart in your response to my post. It is very important to try and stop the spread of rumors and gossip in its tracks from the very beginning. Please review my second article on the subject https://jimdavenport.wordpress.com/2011/10/28/revisiting-on-christians-spreading-rumors-and-gossip-in-the-church/ … In this article I provide some additional scriptures on the subject and also a couple of examples from the Bible on how Joseph and Jesus handled these situations. In this article I say: “Let’s face it, when we gossip, listen to gossip and/or spread rumors we are knowingly participating in and condoning a destructive purpose that can result in character assassination. Could it be that the gossiper has a need to feel good about themselves by disparaging the character and reputation of others? I most certainly think so!” Don’t get discouraged with your friends. They need to be educated on the subject. Christians are not exempt from participating in gossip and rumor spreading. I think we can conclude with confidence that it grieves the heart of God when we do it. Thank you for your stand. Blessings, Jim D.

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  5. Pingback: Revisiting … “On Christians Spreading Rumors and Gossip in the Church” | jimdavenport

  6. Controlling the tongue is one of the greatest challenges for Christians since most gossip is a result of not thinking before we speak. Your article places emphasis on very valid points that should be pondered on a continual basis.
    Thanks for sharing,
    John Hayes

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