Shows Main Idea – How to talk behind someone’s back is a relevant topic that has many biblical layers. There is a way to share things about others while guarding your heart and the character of the person you’re talking about outside of their presence.
This question about gossip, slander, and biblical communication came from two of our supporting members. Gospel, slander, and redemptive communication is a relevant topic. Get Rick’s book From Talk Trouble to Redemptive Communication
Article Excerpt: The Bible does not have to accommodate confidentiality because it has something better. The Bible uses biblical language that is clear, to the point, not arguable, and releases any Christian to be free in how they share their problems with other Christians.
Here is a short list of biblical categories that safeguard any person from being sinned against regarding this idea of confidentiality: gossip, slander, unwholesome speech, biting and devouring, whisperers, and malice. This list is just a sampling–there are more categories than these.
Article Excerpt: You and I are commanded by Scripture not to let an erring brother or sister continue in sin. There is a beautiful biblical balance between communication that honors discretion and communication that honors redemptive work in a person’s life, which is the entire point of (Matthew 18:15-17).
The issue in view here is not about slander or gossip, but about acting redemptively on behalf of a person who refuses to act redemptively for himself.
Article Excerpt: There is a communal requirement placed on all Christians to live transparently before each other. Just like the physical body must be in sync with all its parts, the body of Christ should have an appropriate level of self-awareness among its parts.
There are two ditches you want to stay out of–the first of which is a Christian who lives secretly while saying nothing about the reality of her life. The second is the Christian who has no discretion, which manifests by talking too much.
It’s impossible to live in this world and not talk about other people outside of their presence.
The motive of the heart makes all the difference in the world.
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. – Ephesians 4:29
- Talking to your spouse.
- Talking to a spiritual mentor.
- Talking to a horizontal relationship, who is not part of the problem or solution.
- Guard your spouse (mentor or another person) against thinking poorly of the person or struggling with the knowledge.
- Guard the reputation of the offending person.
- Was it a sin?
- Is it an episode or pattern?
- Can you overlook the offense?
- Do you have time and context to help this person?
- Is the person in your local church (or sphere of influence)?
- What would be your purpose? (Read: redemption)
- Are you trying to punish the person?
- Are you over-protective of your reputation?
- Do you struggle with fear of man? Thus you need approval, acceptance, etc.
- Is someone else offended by what another said about you? Can you walk that person through the problem redemptively?