Paraphrasing something that I heard Pastor Rick Warren say, I believe these are the two real reasons why Christians gossip: Our problem is that: (1) we take ourselves too seriously and (2) we don't take God seriously enough.

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God takes seriously how we communicate about others in the flock. Peter said to "Be agreeable, be sympathetic, be loving, be compassionate, be humble. That goes for all of you, no exceptions. No retaliation. No sharp-tongued sarcasm. Instead, bless-that's your job, to bless. You'll be a blessing and also get a blessing". 1 Peter 3:8 (MsgB) So there is an added bonus for your Godly communication…a blessing at no extra charge.
  
Pastor Jim Cymbala of Brooklyn Tabernacle writes how his church handles the topic of gossip. 

About 20 years ago, I said something impromptu to the new members lined up across the front of the church. As we received them, the Holy Spirit prompted me to add, "And now, I charge you that if you ever hear another member speak an unkind word of criticism or slander against anyone — myself, an usher, a choir member, or anyone else—that you stop that person in mid-sentence and say, 'Excuse me — who hurt you? Who ignored you? Who slighted you? Was it Pastor Cymbala? Let's go to his office right now. He'll apologize to you, and then we'll pray together so God can restore peace to this body. But we won't let you talk critically about people who aren't present to defend themselves.'

"I'm serious about this. I want you to help resolve this kind of thing immediately. And know this: If you are ever the one doing the loose talking, we'll confront you."

To this day, every time we receive new members, I say much the same thing. That's because I know what most easily destroys churches. It's not crack cocaine, government oppression, or even lack of funds. Rather it's gossip and slander that grieves the Holy Spirit.

Powerful. And so achingly true. God is not glorified when we spread gossip and idle chatter. The test is very simple. If I am not part of the situation or a part of the solution I should not be talking about it. James is typically to the point in this brutally honest assessment.

A careless or wrongly placed word out of your mouth can do that. By our speech we can ruin the world, turn harmony to chaos, throw mud on a reputation, send the whole world up in smoke and go up in smoke with it, smoke right from the pit of hell. James 3:6 (MsgB)  

Vaccinate yourself with a couple of scriptural truths about gossip. An injection of biblical truth and a dose of how God views gossip can control the deadly virus. And that will make the body of Christ a whole lot healthier.

Dave Burchett is an Emmy Award winning television sports director, author, and Christian speaker. He is the author of when bad christians happen to good people and bring'em back alive: a healing plan for those wounded by the church. You can reply by linking through daveburchett.com

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