Ever heard the phrase "the Christian grapevine" I'm sure you have. It's the gossip that stems from hearsay that we as Christians need to guard against. All of us have indulged in this "disease" of the Body of Christ. Often the gossip is the truth, but the truth is hidden by the way it is delivered and subsequently passed on. It's the "fluff and stuff" that is added to the truth because of the way the receiver interprets what they heard and so the story gets muddied and tainted. The only way it can be stopped is when we check our own hearts and motives. Are we repeating what we heard out of a heart of compassion and a sincere desire to be part of the solution or because we derived some sort of pleasure in repeating the story.
Eph 4:15 says "But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:" The "in love" part is a heart thing not just a mental assent and we will know the difference at the time if we are in submission to the Holy Spirit. I have found this to be true in my own life. In the course of a conversation, I was about to say something when I felt a check not to say it and immediately changed the direction. It was like the Holy Spirit was applying the brakes to prevent me from going there. Even though we may be talking to someone we trust, they may repeat it and pretty soon, the fourth and fifth generation have the story wrong.
Sadly, gossip serves no purpose other than to divide the Church, because people are quick to take sides. I have heard the stories of friendships that have suddenly ended for no aparent reason, only to find out years later it was because of gossip. I have probably been a victim myself as I have had friends who suddenly stopped being friends. There is not much we can do to stop others from gossipping, but we can stop the gossip from being disseminated from our own lips. The buck stops here.
When I was in my early 30's I was fellowshipping with a group of ministers and leaders and the conversation began to be about other ministers and what they were doing. The rumors and gossip began to flow and pretty soon I began to feel very uncomfortable. I excused myself and went for a walk. As I was thinking about the gossip I began to speak to the Lord about the experience. God showed me a vision of the group talking about people in other cities. As they were talking, it was as though webs were forming a canopy accross the country, that became thicker and thicker until it blocked the light of the sun and it got darker and darker.
I asked the Lord what that meant and He said as we were engaging in gossip, the opposite of truth, it was preventing His glory from shining through. So I asked Him what we could do about this and He said, "begin to speak blessing over them" and He showed me another vision of us speaking blessing, life, love and peace over them. As we did that, the strands of web began to snap and the light began to shine through once again.
I went back and told the group and asked them to join me in praying for and blessing those who were gossipped about. There was such a breakthrough of God's presence in that place and repentant hearts. It was a lesson I never forgot and God has had to remind me of this from time to time. If you find yourself being dragged into a gossip session, remember "the buck stops here" Immediately ask those present to pray with you and you will see a change in the atmosphere almost immediately.
Eph 4:25 " Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another." Truth is something this Nation needs and when the Church begins to walk in truth and honesty, it will trickle down into the secular world and " his truth shall be thy shield and buckler (armor) " Psalm 91:4