Church Gossip

There was a time when I was a naïve Christian.  I found it hard to believe there was such a thing as gossip in the church.  Yet, sadly it exists.  One website I came across refers to it as Christian cancer.

What effect does gossip have? It breaks down relationships. Exodus 23:1, TLB. “Do not pass along untrue reports. Do not cooperate with an evil man by affirming on the witness stand something you know is false.”

Gossip is as harmful and lasting as physical wounds. Proverbs 25:18, TLB. “Telling lies about someone is as harmful as hitting him with an axe, or wounding him with a sword, or shooting him with a sharp arrow.”

Gossip wastes valuable time. II Thessalonians 3:11-12, TLB. “Yet we hear that some of you are living in laziness, refusing to work, and wasting your time in gossiping. In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ we appeal to such people—we command them—to quiet down, get to work, and earn their own living.”

Gossip can ruin friendships. Proverbs 16:28, TLB. “An evil man sows strife; gossip separates the best of friends.”

Gossip is based on rumors. Proverbs 11:13, TLB. “A gossip goes around spreading rumors, while a trustworthy man tries to quiet them” (

King Solomon had this to say about the matter, “A gossip betrays a confidence; so avoid a man who talks too much” (Proverbs 20:19, NIV).  I can personally attest to this.  A friend of mine told an elder at the church that he was divorced.  He told her this in confidence but then she went and told another church member who in turn told the woman my friend was interested in.  Needless to say, the woman he was interested in was upset but thankfully she did not dump him.  Solomon was a wise man and was right when he warned that we should stay away from people who talk too much.  Just as they talk about others behind their backs, it would come as no surprise that they may be talking your name behind your back.  There are certain people who should never know your personal business.

I read a funny story of how one church member handled the church gossip.

Mildred, the church gossip and self-appointed monitor of the church’s morals, has been sticking her nose into other people’s business.   Many members are afraid of her and don’t say anything when Mildred speaks out.

Mildred accused Frank, a new member of the congregation, of being an alcoholic.  She went on to say she saw his old pickup parked in front of the town’s only bar one afternoon and emphatically told Frank, along with several others, that every one knew what he was doing.

Frank, a man of few words, stared at her for a moment and just turned and walked away.  He didn’t explain, defend, or deny.  He just said nothing.

Later that evening, Frank quietly parked his pickup in front of Mildred’s house…. walked home…. and left it there all night.

I would love to see Mildred’s face the next morning.  I’m sure this cured her of gossiping.

A gossip says things that are inappropriate, unflattering, embarrassing, hurtful or humiliating about a person. Some people think that because the information is true that it is not considered gossipping if they share it with others.  But, in my opinion it is.  In my situation it was true that I was pregnant and unwed but what wasn’t true was the supposition that the father of my unborn child was a church member whom I considered to be a friend.  He told me that some of these people wanted blood.  I ended up leaving that church.

Gossip is destructive and should have no place in the house of God.  Those who profess to be His children and followers of His Son should not be indulging in this  kind of communication which would tear down relationships instead of building them up.

How do we handle gossip?  Here are some tips for ministers and church members:

1. Avoid association with persons who gossip (Prov. 20:19).

2. Expose works of darkness by reporting gossip to the pastor that he may confront and offer correction. Gossip should be treated as any other vile sin (Eph. 5:11).

3. Ask yourself the question, Am I a part of the problem or a part of the solution? If not, you don’t need to hear the information.

4. Ask the accuser if you can go directly to the person of whom is being spoken and use their name so that the problem can be corrected.

5. Don’t believe everything you hear. Members may come to the preacher with information which accuses others that may or may not be true. Go to the accused person first to hear their side of the story.

6. We must make certain our facts are accurate.

7. We must be certain our motives are pure.

8. Periodically preach on the destructive nature of gossip

9. Build a strong coalition of church leaders who are loyal to you and will help maintain the integrity of the church.

10. Become proactive. Constantly be upbeat of others accomplishments and speak highly of the unity of the church.

11. If necessary, exercise church discipline when a person refuses to head godly warnings.

12. The preacher and his wife must both learn to keep every confidence private.

13. Most who gossip are reluctant to admit to gossip, therefore it is necessary for the preacher and church leaders to hold the standard high and refuse to allow gossip in the church (

Don’t encourage gossip.  If someone tries to tell you something about someone else, excuse yourself and walk away or tell the person “I have a lot of respect for you but I don’t want to sit here and listen to this” or “I don’t like gossiping.”  The person might not take too kindly to this but remember, you are doing what is right in God’s eyes and that’s all that matters.  You’re a God pleaser not a people pleaser and there is nothing pleasing about gossip.  It’s a cancer that you don’t want to get into your system.


18 responses to “Church Gossip

  1. I have been experiencing this as a couple wants me to leave our church. I am reading that this happens often. THough I am sad, I am glad I am not alone! I will not be leaving our church. I will not longer continue to prove myself. I serve a God who sees and hears. I will live right and leave the rest to him, praying for those who continually spread rumors/lies and gossip about me.


    • Hi Susan,

      Sorry it has taken almost a year to reply to your comment. As long as you are right with the Lord, it doesn’t matter what others think or say about you. It’s good that you are praying for those who are seeking to hurt you.

      God bless,


  2. I was setting at a church meeting and my paster was talking about one of the elder ,I am an Elder myself , what sould i do.


    • Hi Debora,

      As the pastor of a church, he should have been more discreet with his conversations at the meeting. Obviously what he said made you uncomfortable and such talk is likened to gossiping. Gossip has no place in the house of God. The Word of God is clear regarding this. For example, gossip brings harm to others as outlined in Proverbs 25:18 “A man who bears false witness against his neighbor Is like a club, a sword, and a sharp arrow”.

      It is based on rumors as mentioned in Proverbs 11:13, “A talebearer reveals secrets, But he who is of a faithful spirit conceals a matter.” It can destroy lives and ruin relationships.

      If I were you, I would speak privately to the pastor about this and let him know that you were uncomfortable with it.

      God bless,


  3. It cuts to the bone, doesn’t it? Especially when people held to a higher standard, such as deacon’s wives, their friends, pastors, etc. do it. Can God be present in a church when devils are present? I’m serious. I even know of a case where a deacon’s wife was gossiping about her husband’s conversation with another church member, and passed it to the preacher.


    • Yes, it cuts to the bone. Gossip has no place in God’s house of worship. Who would want to be a part of a church where trust and confidentiality are disregarded? The deacon’s wife needs to read what Paul wrote in 1 Timothy 3:11 about the wives of deacons. “Likewise, [their] wives [must be] reverent, not slanderers, temperate, faithful in all things.”

      God bless,


  4. I joined a church loved it and the pastor. Then after about a year gossip and stories started about the pastor. The pastor left the church and many others. The women I talk to say pray for the church, but their gossip started with them. I plan to leave the church and find another.


    • Hi Anna,

      I’m sorry that you are thinking of leaving the church you love. Gossip is very destructive and should not be found anywhere in the body of Christ. I think you should confront the women who were responsible for what happened. Ask God to help you to address this problem.

      Hope all goes well.

      God bless.


  5. It’s very sad. The church that I’m a member of. They gossip a lot. The bishop & the elders. I’m not sure of the deacons. Members of the church left because of it. This is my question. How can you preach the word about right & wrong screaming praise the lord then go into the office and participate in what god said is wrong. It makes it a lil hard to listen at times when bishop preaches because he participates in it.


    • It is very sad when we do not practice what we preach. Jesus exhorted us to be doers of His Word. The Bishop is responsible for feeding the flock. According to Paul, he must be blameless, “a lover of what is good, sober-minded, just, holy, self-controlled, holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict” (Titus 1:7-9).

      I think you should follow Jesus’ advice in Matthew 18:15-17. Speak to the Bishop and the elders alone. If they will not hear, take other church members who share your feelings about what is happening in the church and together you talk to the Bishop and the elders. Before you confront them, go to God in prayer and ask Him to give you the words to say.

      Be of good courage and know that the Lord will be with you as you stand up for His truth.


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  7. I have a friend who I’m beginning to “break away” from. I can mention that I saw Sister So and So last night, and she will bring up something negative about that person. Sometimes, it may be things that a person did in their past. I don’t need to hear this mess! I have told her time and time to stop telling me about my spiritual sisters and brothers. She had moved to the West Coast and was still gossiping about things going on here on the East Coast (she has those who she gets information from). Now, she’s back on the East Coast and is still doing the same thing. I sometimes avoid answering the phone when I see her name pop up on my cell phone. I have been guilty of gossip in the past, but when I became a Christian and began to make application to do the right things in life, gossip was one thing I didn’t want to be a part of. I know the pain of being gossiped about (for I have been lied on). I told my friend that she should stop repeating everything that she hears because she can cause serious damage to someone’s reputation. I have a motto: “I will tell you what you need to know about me and NOT what you want to know” when people tend to want to get into my personal business. It works!


    • Thanks for your comments, Vita. People who ought to know better they are the ones who gossip. They don’t think about how they would feel if others were to gossip about them. They may be in the church but that does not make them Christians. Anyone who belongs to Jesus and has become a new creation in Him will no want to gossip. You stopped doing it once you became a Christian and started applying God’s Word to your life. I think your advice to your friend was very good. Gossip can cause serious damage. And I like your motto. Instead of going to church to exhort and edify others some people go there to tear down with their gossip. I think the church should have a policy in place which deals with gossiping. Perhaps the policy could be :two warnings and then you’re out. Gossipers have no place in the house of God. You are right in not wanting to associate with someone who gossips. You don’t know if that friend is gossiping about you. And even if she isn’t, it would be better if you put some distance between you. Make it clear to her that unless she stops gossiping and listening to gossip, you don’t want to be around her. Pray that she will be convicted just as you were.

      Continue to stand in God’s truth which has set you free.



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