There once was a story about a young woman who spread all kinds of malicious rumors about her Pastor. None of them were true. They were based on misunderstandings and totally unreasonable assumptions, but this woman, despite having no proof, spread these rumors and gossiped without once confronting her Pastor.
However, one day, she came to her senses when she realized the gossip was not true at all. She went to her Pastor and explained the situation, begging for forgiveness.
The pastor told her she must do two things, one, rip open a pillow on the top of a hill and then return for the second task.
The woman, thinking this an easy task, went forth and did as she was told. She returned to her Pastor and he asked, “What did you see?”
She replied, “Feathers, Pastor. They flew off into the wind.”
The Pastor answered, “Here is your second task: go back to that hill, and collect all of those feathers.”
The woman screamed, “What! That’s impossible!”
The wise Pastor replied, “Such is gossip. You can spread your words out like feathers in the wind, but it is impossible to take back the malicious words you have scattered.”
Recently, I had a friend of mine from the Midwest, who was above reproach, be accused of some…shall we say, inappropriate behavior. Her “friends,” instead of coming to her with their concerns, decided to speak to several pastors at the church she graciously serves. They also told many of her friends, which led to a swirl of gossip that quickly spread out of control.
When she confronted her friends, they told her that they were not sorry and that they would do it the same way if they had a choice. Most were mistakenly convinced that she was upset because she was “caught” not that they had made her feel betrayed and humiliated.
Fortunately, her senior pastor saw through this and has been supportive since all of the accusations are based on assumptions, false accusations, and outright lies.
The Bible talks about gossip in several places all through the Old Testament and the New Testament. In the New Testament, gossip is listed along with slander, lying, selfish ambition, etc. (Romans 1:29 & 2 Corinthians 12:20). It is a scripture verse in the Old Testament that sticks out for me:
A gossip goes around revealing a secret,
but a trustworthy person keeps a confidence. Proverbs 11:13 (HCSB)
How does the Bible say we deal with these situations? Well, Jesus has an answer for us:
15 “If your brother sins against you, go and rebuke him in private. If he listens to you, you have won your brother. 16 But if he won’t listen, take one or two more with you, so that by the testimony of two or three witnesses every fact may be established. 17 If he pays no attention to them, tell the church. But if he doesn’t pay attention even to the church, let him be like an unbeliever and a tax collector to you. Matthew 18:15-17
What was done to my friend was wrong. That’s why I am writing this article. Please, look to the Word for inspiration when dealing with any kind of situation. Gossip only causes discouragement and ruined reputations.