I hate gossip. It does nothing but destroy people. I’ve seen it first-hand and I hate it with a passion.
Why? Becuase it destroys relationships and trust. I’ve literally seen it divide churches. I’ve had it affect me personally, causing Child Protective Service called on me, all because a judgemental elder who had no understanding ran his mouth to our pastor who in turn ran his mouth to a social worker, instead of talking to us. The social worker, in turn, filed a report with C.P.S. and we had to fight them off for the next 6 months. The report was later dismissed for lack of cause. I ended up leaving the church.
The Bible is very clear about this topic. There are numerous scriptures that address it. I found 32 of them!
The one I think that addresses it the best is
Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless. James 1:26
So here’s my best advice. If you can’t say something to a person directly, keep your mouth shut!
Don’t go to a third party and “express your concern” to them. Even if it is a person in leadership or a pastor. Again if you have a concern, go to the person and express it to them directly. If you can’t do that, then pray about it and keep your mouth shut.
The problem is that too many times, we tend to try to fix things the way the world does. That’s not the right thing to do.
I think people act with the best of intentions. However, they don’t understand the damage that can be done.
Most of the time, people who are the victim of gossip, end up leaving the church and even spurn churches and Christians afterward. They may even walk away from God altogether.
I went through that. I deliberately stopped attending local churches for a time. I attended an online church where I felt safe. It took me a long time until I could trust people again.
If you are a pastor or leader, and someone comes to you with a “concern” tell them to talk to the person directly and educate them that what they are doing is gossip. Either that or arrange a meeting with the person in question and the gossiper and get it resolved.
Under no account, should you tell the person being talked about that an anonymous person has expressed a concern. All you are going to do is tick the person off and create division.