Bill Mounce has a great reminder of how we allow our sinfulness to harm our churches. Bill tells the story of a young couple sacrificing a lot to pursue ministry only to land in a pastorate where the burden of dealing with gossip in the church was too much. The couple left ministry (but not their faith) and are pursuing another vocation.
Bill has some words of reminder we must hear. “When are we going to learn? When are we going to preach Ephesians 4:29-5:5 and hold people to account? When will we view gossip and slander and criticalness as the dark and ugly sins that they are? While we do hold a few sins as really bad — I will let you fill in the blanks — I suspect that the sins of the mouth have done infinitely more damage to the cause of Christ than, say, adultery…”
“…And what is at stake? The lives of our young ministers? Much more than that. The very mission of the church is that we are to so love each other that those outside the church will see our love and be convinced that God the Father sent his Son into the world to make for himself a people of his own possession. It was Jesus’ one prayer for you and for me (John 17).”
We do this don’t we. Even if we say we don’t. I know I have. Gossiped about a pastor or criticized him or her in the wrong settings. I hope that I, we come to fully understand Biblical community and make no room for gossip in the church. The love we are command to have for one another demands it. The cross demands it.