Sarah Palin is right in what she said about anonymous comments… “It’s mean-spirited, it’s immature, it’s unprofessional, and those guys are jerks.”  It was while reading Ray Pritchard’s blog about this as related to church that I reflected some…

Since I’m a pastor and think often about church, here are my 2 cents worth.  As everyone else who has been in the ministry any length of time can say, I’ve been the object of anonymous gossip… lies… rumors… half truths… and deceit at church.

Let me say quickly… I LOVE THE CHURCH!  I love church people!  I’ve devoted my life to serving, helping, encouraging, and supporting the Bride of Christ.  Nothing I write in this blog has caused me today to be even close to walking away from her or turning my back on my call!  Sometimes only those who love us the most know us the best and are able to speak the truth in love about us.  That is my point in this post…

church-lady  The #1 source of problems in church is gossip, and most of it is from anonymous sources.  People hear something… twist and turn it to their liking… and then tell others.  Then that person tells another… whether or not what they’ve heard is true... and then another… and another… and before long the church is in chaos.  Satan has a foothold… and the health of the congregation is in deep trouble… Christians, ministers, and ministries are wounded.

  TRUTHS: If you didn’t SEE it yourself, you don’t know!  Just because something is true doesn’t mean it should be told.  If someone will gossip to you about someone else, they will gossip to someone else about you!

  You have no idea how many times church members and deacons say: “I’ve had a number of phone calls…”   I’m hearing rumblings…” “Quite a few people have said…” “There are people who are unhappy…” “I don’t know if this is true, BUT…”  “You need to be praying about…” (Sometimes this is just a form of Christian Gossip!) “From what I hear it doesn’t look good…” “I can’t tell you who told me, but…”  {That one is especially evil}  All those quotes, and similar ones, are improper… divisive… and used by Satan to sow seeds of discord and disharmony within the church.  From my experience and observation some church staff are as guilty as anyone else.

If a person won’t put their name to what they’ve said, then they and their comment should be ignored.

I admire those who are willing to take a black eye in order to protect the reputation of others (Pr 10:12Pr 11:13, Pr 17:9).  I saw people and a committee do that in the church I served in Oxford, AL regarding a staff member I served with.  Yet there is a difference between protecting someone’s reputation and passing along gossip.  I’ve always told people where I served, if you know something about me, I don’t care who you tell as long as you tell the whole story and what you KNOW to be true.

In other words, rumors and hearsay does not count as something a person KNOWS!

God commands His people to be different from the world.  God commands His people to speak the truth in love.  God commands that His people are to be reconcilers.  God commands that His people are to work things out privately.  God commands that His people are to say only what is good for building people up. God commands that His people are to love one anotherforgive one another… and be of one mind.

Can that last paragraph be true of an entire church?  Yes.  Can that last paragraph be true of us… me and you?  Yes!  What it takes is simply making a conscious choice to honor God and conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of the Gospel of Christ… no matter what anyone else does!

Let’s try it… just you and me… and see what God does!