CHURCH CIVILITY: Gossip can kill a church

Christian civility is often defeated through the age-old problem of gossip. Author Diana Davis asks these questions to help all Christian evaluate whether they are part of the problem, drawing from material she prepared for an upcoming book for deacons’ wives published by Broadman & Holman. Southern Seminary’s Robbie Sagers offers questions more specific to Internet posts.

Am I a gossip?
* When there is a problem in church, do people run to you to get the “scoop”?
* Do you ever begin a sentence with “Don’t tell anyone, but?”?
* If every word you mutter was printed on the local newspaper’s front page or broadcast on radio, would it honor God?

Tips to Avoid Malicious Gossip:
* It takes two to gossip. If you’re listening, that makes you #2.
* Don’t whisper in public.
* Watch your nonverbal responses. A raised eyebrow can equal gossip.
* Be polite, but don’t participate.
* Your best friend shouldn’t be the church gossip.
* Don’t disguise gossip as prayer.
* Just because it’s true doesn’t mean it’s appropriate to verbalize.
* If you say it to a friend, it’s still gossip.
* Never allow a person’s character to be degraded.
* Correct misinformation.
* Sharing a prayer request? Don’t give too much information. God knows the details.
* Never speak negatively about the church down the street.
* Stop, drop & pray. At the first hint of gossip, immediately interrupt and pray aloud for the situation.
* Guard what you put in print. Written words may appear harsher than intended, and email may be forwarded to hundreds!

Avoiding Misunderstanding on the Internet:
* Is what I am about to say honoring to the Lord Jesus?
* What is my intention in putting these words up on the Internet for the whole world to see?
* Would I be willing to speak what I am about to write to another person’s face, or only to him indirectly through the Internet?

Online Editor
Aaron Earls
Lifeway
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