Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Ray Ortlund has an excellent (and convicting) post on gossip.
Gossip leaves a wide trail of devastation wherever and however it goes – word of mouth, email, blogging, YouTube. It erodes trust and destroys morale. It creates a social environment of suspicion where everyone must wonder what is being said behind their backs and whether appearances of friendship are sincere. It ruins hard-won reputations with cowardly but effective weapons of misrepresentation. It manipulates people into taking sides when no such action is necessary or beneficial. It unleashes the dark powers of psychological transference, doing violence to the gossiper, to the one receiving the gossip and to the person being spoken against. It makes the Body of Christ look like the Body of Antichrist – destroyers rather than healers. It exhausts the energies we would otherwise devote to positive witness. It robs our Lord of the Church he deserves. It exposes the hostility in our hearts and discredits the gospel in the eyes of the world. Then we wonder why we don’t see more conversions, why “the ground is so hard.”

Read the entire post HERE. It is worth your time.


Kimberly said...

Hi Todd,

I took the time to read, thanks for this post. Wow - oh so convicting! I also read through some of the comments on the post and cut 'n pasted the one below as I thought the writer asked good questions. How would you distinguish for them (us) if you were responding to his/her questions?


"Curious said...
This a good reminder to flee the sin of gossip and the sowing of discord in a community. However, I could use some more help understanding what gossip is and how to distinguish it from good instructions and a discerning judgment? "Nothing negative" seems too simplistic in light of the call to be discerning and make sound judgments and help others grow in the same wisdom. Is intent or motivation the only difference between a godly instruction about particular people and gossip? Thanks."

Todd Pruitt said...

I think intent has something to do with it. The problem is that my heart is always a mixed bag. Are my motives ever 100% pure?

Matthew 18 provides the correct pattern (as well as a guard for my sinful heart). If I have ought with my brother and I cannot get over it then I must go to him.

There are some sins which must be addressed publically but again Matthew 18 provides the proper pattern for this.

I find that gossip is so much a part of our daily conversation that it will require a significant change in how we relate to one another. The people with whom I most often fellowship need to keep me accountable and vise versa. We need to recognize it when it comes and not be afraid to call each other out if we cross the line.

One good habit to develop is to begin a pattern of speaking well behind people's backs so that it becomes common to praise people in their absence.

Kimberly said...


Thank you for your response. Excellent! As I was thinking about my own relationships and conversations, I too was thinking about how different relating to people would be if a conscious effort to keep gossip out of the conversations was made. And I agree with you on this:

"One good habit to develop is to begin a pattern of speaking well behind people's backs so that it becomes common to praise people in their absence."

Aaahhh...it's these "small" sins that are so easy to commit, and yet are so insidious and damaging.