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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

February Posts About Gossip by Christians

I am always keeping my ears open for what others in the Christian blogosphere (do we still use that word?) are saying about my "favorite topic."  (See what I linked to last month here.)

Here are four things that appeared in my RSS Reader in February:

1.  It Only Takes a Spark at the Peacemaker Ministries blog, Route 5:9.
The culture in which we live seems to worship the reckless word; the popular people just call it being “snarky.” For some reason, we’ve equated reckless with being wide-eyed and grown-up. The reality is that reckless should be equated with near-sighted and immature. Our marriages, families, schools, churches and country are ablaze. Oh, of course, we really didn’t mean to set them on fire, but we really didn’t make the effort to not set them on fire, either. Remember, through the power of the Holy Spirit, only you can prevent those fires set by reckless words.
Sometimes gossip is intentional--we mean to stab someone in the back. But often, gossip is careless and reckless. "I was just saying..." can hurt someone just as much.

2. How To Shut Down Gossip and Its Nasy Kin by Dan Phillips at Pyromaniacs.
First, understand what gossip is. Gossip is spreading harmful information in an ungodly manner — without love, and thus to no positive end. Its bastard stepchildren are the triplets: Strife, Dissension, Division. Once again, my focus is the life of the local church.
Phillips' definition is good because it recognizes the importance of motivation, intention, and heart-attitude.  While I think some of his practical steps can be a little heavy-handed and need to be applied with a big dollop of discernment, I know that he is right that we need to choose to resist gossip and do something godly instead.

3. Linking to Phillips and adding good stuff from past blogposts and friends Kent Hughes and Ray Ortlund, Justin Taylor gave us How To Stop Church-Killing Gossip

JT is always a one-stop shop for good resources.

Here's what he got from Kent Hughes: "Gossip involves saying behind a person’s back what you would never say to his or her face. Flattery means saying to a person’s face what you would never say behind his or her back."

4.  Tasty Morsels by Nancy Wilson.
A talebearer is a vehicle for gossip, chatter, idle talk, hearsay, and rumors. I picture a parade float with the very self-important queen seated on a throne tossing candy to the crowd as they slowly go by. In much the same way, a talebearer is tossing all kinds of tasty little morsels to one and all. “Did you hear….?” Another name for a talebearer is a blabbermouth. Not a nice description.
Wilson's article is one of the most succinct and helpful short articles I've seen on gossip. She talks about the addictive yet poisonous nature of gossip, applies it to family life, and reminds us that we need to choose godly alternatives.

Image courtesy of Ambro at