6th July 2018

Gossip Makes Conflict Worse 

“Without wood a fire goes out; without gossips, conflict calms down
Proverbs 26:20 (CEB)

The fires that have been raging in North West England this week brought this proverb to mind. It’s almost unbelievable that some people started separate fires in the region, thus compounding the job the fire fighters faced in trying to bring the situation under control.

The proverb above compares people who gossip to those who would feed a fire. It’s quite straightforward talking. Some years ago a friend of mine speculated as to what might destroy a church or a denomination. Would it be doctrinal change? Or liturgy? Or scandal such as happened in the Corinthian church? Or comparing ourselves one with another? All those ideas could have an affect, we thought, but we both concluded it would be gossip. Perhaps there would be a sense of conflict that occurs, but it wouldn’t be the conflict itself that destroys, it would be the gossip surrounding it.

It’s so easy to gossip and to use half-truths to arrive at faulty conclusions, and then spread ideas around as if we are authorities on this matter and the next. But the reality is that gossip is soul destroying — it destroys the soul of the church. Paul told the Romans that listed among those who practice ungodly behaviour are “gossips” who are “without understanding” and “disloyal” (Romans 1:18, 29, 31). Those are stong words! You can see how such people might stoke a conflict instead of calming it down.

When there’s conflict in the church you attend, don’t add to it by gossiping about whatever’s going on or not going on. “Without gossip, conflict calms down”.

Prayer
Holy and loving Father, I need your help. Help me, please, not to make conflict worse by being a gossip. Rather let your peaceful Spirit of compassion and grace influence all that I say and do. In Jesus
’ name.
Amen
 

Study by James Henderson

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About the Author:
James Henderson is the National Ministry Leader for Grace Communion International in the UK and Ireland.

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