Did you know that there is a form of Christian cancer. Its also known by another name: self-righteous gossip. It shows up in prayer meetings, board meetings, side bar conversations, “processing” with a friend, and yes, therapy sessions. It is found in Christian institutions where we discuss who has the best vision, is the most doctrinally sound, or has the most maturity. It spreads quickly from the heart over the tongue and in just a few minutes, it can be around the country. It tends to increase cynicism, egotism, the freedom to sin against a worse sinner without penalty, to justify our own flaws, etc. I see the impact: bitterness, stalling ministries, backbiting, etc.
I confess I am prone to have a case of it. As a counselor I hear all sorts of pain and brokenness in Christian circles. One pastor lacks integrity, another leader is a megalomaniac, another provides dangerous, superficial counseling, another has a farce of a marriage. How will I handle it? Will I tell a trusted friend? Will I “process” with my wife? Where is the line between needed debriefing and gossip? I fear I’m far too willing to cross it at work, church, and the neighborhood. In a discussion of church vision, we criticize the pastor/elders. In a driveway conversation, we discuss the neighbor’s recent arrest, In an office discussion, we discuss a colleague or board member’s missteps.
Where do you think the line is? Is the amount of time spent discussing vs. praying for? Is it the attitude? Is it something else?