"Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them."
I hate the tabloids. They are full of gossip and lies. But it seems as though we are living in a day of tabloid mentality. I have never seen a culture and society so obsessed with gossip, innuendos, and rumors. Just turn on the TV and you'll find all kinds of programs that probe into the personal lives of others.
This tabloid mentality is all the news media is concerned about. Reporters hunt for that juicy piece of gossip. The tragedy is that if someone is charged with a crime today, we try him or her in the media before they ever have had the opportunity to enter a court of law where evidence is presented and where they face their accusers.
Sadly, this kind of thinking can even enter the church. When conflict arises or a problem (which usually can easily be solved)springs up, Christians go wild. When we hear something about someone else, immediately our ears perk up. While Christians should be the first to run away from rumors and run to the source to get the real story, we sadly fall into the trap of gossip or being upset at another believer - without ever talking to them first! What happened to going to a person one on one to discuss something before we bought into a lie, rumor or misconception?
Christians shouldn't let petty things divide them. I've seen Christians get upset over the smallest issues and build an offense. Sometimes even ministries quarrel. One ministry leader or worker thinks they are the "red-headed-step-child" and always being done wrong. They think they are always getting short changed by another "more important" ministry. I thought we were on the same team? I thought we worked and served together? I think the Bible says we don't wrestle with flesh and blood. Jesus flesh and blood spent on the Cross took care of that. People, especially other Christians, aren't our enemies (no one should be).
But what does the Bible tell us? It says that love believes the best of every person. It doesn't say that love believes the worst. This means when someone says something about a Christian brother or sister, you should immediately have some disbelief in your heart. The reason is that you are to believe the best of that individual. We must be very careful, because many times we accept rumor as truth. Then to make matters worse, we start repeating what we've heard without checking the facts.
What ever happened to going to another brother or sister in Christ FIRST and working through a situation instead of spreading negativity? Negative people breed negative people. Some people thrive on gossip and when the smallest issue comes up, they are all over it. These actions aren't Christian and divide and distract what Christ intends for the Church. And if these people are leaders - it will spread to everyone under them. Some under them will pick up this attitude and imitate this nonsense. Others will hear it and leave that ministry or lose respect for that leader.
To correct this, repentance is the key. The person stirring up gossip or strife should repent to everyone involved. If strife and conflict are always where these people are, they usually are the reason. Repentance is the only way bring wholeness and represent a true Christlike lifestyle.
One of the things the Bible says that God hates is the one who sows discord among others (see Proverbs 6:16–19). This is the person who spreads rumors, who spreads innuendos, and who slanders others. God hates this.
Be someone who resolves conflict, not someone who starts it. Be someone who desires peace and reconciliation, not gossip and tension. Be someone who runs from rumors, not someone who can't wait for the next juicy bit.
Don't be someone who spreads rumors. Don't be someone who gossips. It's wrong. It's sinful. And it displeases God.