Friday, September 05, 2008

Keller and Powlison on gossip: Suspend; Cover and then Speak.

A friend sent me this before I went on Vacation, and I didn't look at it. I should have. Take a look:

Keller and Powlison: Should You Pass on Bad Reports?

Its a survey of texts on the profound evil of gossip, really. It's not rocket science, but seriously, imagine if we actually lived this way?

I know this is kind of ruining it, but here is the conclusion, the 'answer in the back of the book'!
If you hear bad reports about other Christians you must either cover it with love or go to them personally before speaking of it to any others.
  • The first thing to do is to simply suspend judgment. Don’t pass on bad reports.
  • The second thing to do is “cover” it in love, reminding yourself that you don’t know all about the heart of the person who may have done evil—and you know your own frailty. Don’t allow bad reports to pass into your own heart.
  • The final thing to do is go and speak to them personally.
What you should never do is rush to judgment, or withdraw from loving another, or pass on the negative report to others. This is challenge enough when you’re dealing with the local grapevine or slow-moving postal service. In a world of instant world-wide communication of information it’s an even bigger challenge, because you can do bigger damage more quickly. Whether the bad report offers true information, or partial information, or disinformation, or false information—it is even more important that you exercise great discretion, and that you take pains to maximize boots-on-the-ground interpersonal relationships.
So now you've read the answer in the back of the book, go and see the 'working out'.


Pic on Flickr by secretagent007.


Mark said...

Sage advice indeed!

Marcus Reeves said...

Hey Justin, I'm reading Powlison's two books at the moment. Why didn't anyone ever tell me about this guys years ago?

seapea said...

i used to have a HUGE problem with gossip: people used to come to me all the time with information and i'd just freely give them out, as if they were halloween candies. i didn't realize what it meant to be kept quiet or not to pass on. not at all about being vindictive or anything but i just thought people would LIKE to know. BIG MISTAKE.

having gone through that, i am careful, especially at church. however, i myself am continuing to work through judgements and other aspects of just being a better person. but yes, gossip = poison! and most of the times we don't even know it!