Has it become acceptable to Gossip!

This week, I was asked to fill out a questionnaire for a church position. In this questionnaire I was asked "if I heard people at a dinner discussing what they didn't like about a television pastor, what would I do?" That's not the question word for word but it is in the same thought process. Of course, I gave my answer and then realized I am probably part of the crowd that is discussing other pastors and their problems. It has led me to a bigger question, is it okay for us as Christians to openly criticize pastors whom we have a problem with or when they do something like buy a house worth $1.7 million dollars. Basically, is it okay for me to gossip as a Christian?

So many times before I have answered this in my pastor's voice and said, "yes it is, I am protecting my sheep". Today, I am not so ready to make that statement. Maybe, I have matured or maybe I take these few scriptures with a little fear and trembling:

"Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured of you"      Matt. 7:1-2

"Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing and things like these ..." Galatians 5:19-21a

I worry when we post things against other pastors or even people in leadership that we create factions, dissensions and factions within the church. I know one of my roles as a pastor is to under-shepherd or to guide those Christ has given me to lead, but I fear that we focus so much on protecting our sheep from the wolves that we have become wolves ourselves in making our lives the ones to be cherished. I also realize that there is a ton of horrible and evil theology out there, but is Facebook the place to fight it?

I wonder if when I get uncomfortable about how much a pastor makes or how inflated a church's number gets, that I am really jealous that I do not have the same. I think sometimes we criticize because we don't have, not that having is the proof of God. However, lets be real for a moment and see that many of us would love to have the numbers some of the popular pastors have. Who wouldn't like access to a private jet and be able to travel the world (for Jesus of course). But then the question arises, how much did their church give to missions or how many of their people took the Gospel to places that have never heard. Isn't disciples making the goal of the church? Then maybe we should ask those questions first and weigh them by what we find.

I think it has become socially acceptable in the Christian world to openly criticize and question Christian leaders (or any leader). However, the word of God tells us to go to the person 1 on 1 if they have offended you or if they are in sin. (here is a website with a bunch of scriptures on rebuking another believer: http://www.openbible.info/topics/correcting_a_brother) Or maybe, we are to air out our differences in the public forum for all to see and act just like the world.

I know there is a ton of false teaching out there and it is hard as a pastor not to fight against it when people you lead are getting swallowed up by it. I hope we will disciple harder and better, then correct those in sin privately before going public? I could we wrong and am okay with that, I just hope we would become more of a light to the world and less of a dividing point in the church.

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