But now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language. Colossians 3:8 NLT
Word had seeped out; only days and weeks remained before he gave his resignation.
Ted* and I pastored in the same small town. One day, he received a call. A woman had trouble at home. Her husband treated her with disdain. She wanted to meet and talk. Ted agreed. They met in a public place, and she brought her young daughter with her. He thought it was safe—but he was wrong.
Tongues soon wagged. "Did you see the preacher eating lunch with _____?" Before long, gossip had infiltrated the church. Few gave Ted the benefit of the doubt. Though he wasn't asked to leave the church, he knew he couldn't stay. Gossip had ruined his effectiveness. Reluctantly, he submitted his resignation.
Paul must have been familiar with gossip in the early church. Why else would he instruct the Colossians to put away anger, slander, and obscene talk?
Christianity doesn’t make one immune to gossip. I know. I've been a Christian for forty-eight years but have walked through periods when I gave in to the temptation to gossip or had others gossip about me or my family. Gossip isn't necessarily untrue information. It may be twisted material. Gossip may even be the truth—but truth better left unsaid. Truth that is hurtful if shared with the wrong people.
Since gossip can be true information, good gossip is possible. Sharing kind information is always a good practice. Kind words don’t hurt. Kindness builds others up and boosts their self-esteem. An angry attitude, on the other hand, leads to sharing slanderous or obscene things.
When speaking, I try to remember everything doesn't have to be said just because I know it. My fleshly nature urges me on, but God can hold me back if I let Him. He can keep the hurtful—and perhaps untrue material—from rolling off my tongue.
Some things are better left unsaid. Such as when someone says about their child or grandchild, "Isn't that just the prettiest baby you've ever seen?" But I'm thinking it is the ugliest child I've ever seen. Sharing my thoughts wouldn't build up. In fact, doing so might start a fight.
When it comes time to open your mouth, make sure you say something worth saying. Share good gossip.
Tweetable: Are you sharing some good gossip?
Prayer: Father, may the words of our mouth and the meditations of our heart be acceptable to You—and others.
*Name changed to protect privacy.