9. The Avoider Gossip
I’d venture a guess that every church (and many families) in America has one—if not many—avoider gossips. They are hard to spot, but every bit as destructive as other times of gossips.
An avoider gossip learns something negative about someone, but fears addressing the issue face to face. They likely think, someone needs to do something. But rather than going directly to the offending party as Matthew 18 instructs, or going to a person who can help (the parent, a pastor, law enforcement), they pass on the information in hopes the right person will somehow hear the right information, and do the right thing.
An avoider gossip might have good intentions, but rarely do they get good results.
Years ago, one of the associate pastors of our church became the subject of gossip. As the Lead Pastor, my husband began hearing second, third, and fourth-hand accounts of questionable behavior on the part of his associate. Not one person with firsthand knowledge ever contacted my husband. Instead, they told a friend, who told a friend, who told my husband. The reason most often cited? “I don’t want to gossip to the Pastor.” It never occurred to any of them they were gossiping to everyone but the Pastor!
By the time my husband had enough credible evidence to adequately address the issue, damage—that could have been avoided—was already done.
Avoider gossip is based in fear, not love. It’s harmful because without firsthand knowledge, those who are in a position to intervene in dangerous or destructive situations are unable to do so in a timely manner.
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