How I Told a Pastor to Stop Gossiping – by Jerry Page

One of my staff members was at it again.He was spreading false rumors about another couple on our conference team.I’d warned him before about his tendency to gossip. Extremely annoyed, I set an appointment for Tuesday. I would go over a list of his wrong doings, watch him squirm, and then make it clear his behavior needed to change.Tuesday came and I took my time with the Lord that morning. I asked Him to speak clearly to me from His word — whatever I needed to understand. The appointment with Jim was not on my mind, but it was on God’s mind!

I had been reading through Proverbs and verses from chapter 12 began to practically jump off the page. “A fool shows his annoyance at once. … Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. … A prudent man keeps his knowledge to himself, but the heart of a fool blurt out folly” (verses 16, 18 and 23).

“I hear you, Lord,” I prayed.

I was right about the facts but so wrong in spirit. I asked Jesus to make me like Him in my meeting. Galatians 6:1 came to mind: “Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted.”

I began our meeting with Galatians 6:1 and asked Jim to pray for me to be like Jesus in all my dealings with people. I admitted that I sometimes talked about people behind their backs. Then I gently shared my concerns with him. We ended up on our knees, tears in our eyes, praying for each other.

Later that evening a pastor called me. Angry over false gossip members were spreading about him, he planned to straighten them out! Isn’t God good? He had worked me over that morning so I could have a good meeting with Jim and also be ready to help a hurting pastor that evening.

It seems there is never enough time. The temptation is to cut short or skip time with my Lord and move on to “getting something practical done.” More and more I am realizing that if I prioritize connecting with God through prayer and the Word, He can accomplish much more of the right things! That is just what He promised in John 15!

Let’s make sure we take time in God’s word and talk often with Him. It makes a difference for eternity!

Your brother in Christ,

Jerry N. Page, General Conference ministerial secretary

NOTE: Don’t miss this week’s Prayer Focus & Note from Erton Köhler, President, South America Division. You can view those by clicking HERE! 

Practical Application: 

When problems arise, it’s always easiest to try to work out the solutions in our own strength. Maybe you have been doing just this, and you are wondering why aren’t things getting any better! You may be thinking, why am I not finding the solutions I need? Inspiration tells us, “Prayer and faith will do what no power on earth can accomplish” (Ministry of Healing, p. 519). Instead of continuing to do things your way, or following your natural inclinations to work problems out with others, why don’t you spend some extra time in God’s Word and in prayer, until He gives you the wisdom and clarity you need. He has promised, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him” (Jam. 1:5). That’s not just an offer, it’s His promise! But we must ask, and wait until the answer comes.

Dear Heavenly Father, When things don’t go as they should, it’s so easy for self to rise up. But the solution that self brings is not from You. Please forgive us for reacting from our feelings and selfishness and pride rather than following the counsels from Your Word. Forgive us for doing things our way instead of Your way. Change our hearts, Lord! Help us to learn to look to You and Your Word for wisdom and strength in every problem and trial we face. You tell us that the things that are impossible with men are possible with You. So we need You to work! Thank You for hearing this prayer. Thank You for what You will do as we learn to trust more and more in You! In Jesus’ Precious Name, Amen!  

Promises to claim: Rom. 12:21, Eph. 4:29, James 1:5, Mark 10:27