After listening to a guest relate a four- or five-minute account of evil gossip regarding an incident in the life of another person she knew, Mrs. Kennon responded by kindly asking, "Could you now tell me several good things about her for the next four or five minutes?"
When her guest remained silent, Mrs. Kennon continued, "I know one good quality she always exercises: she never speaks about the faults of her friends in their absence."
After discovering a shocking problem with slander and evil gossip in his new congregation, a minister called all his members to a special meeting. He then made the following proposal to them.
"Friends, I would like all of you to sign an agreement with me tonight. The agreement is as follows:
I, ____________ (Name) agree to not share an evil account of one member of our church with another, unless I have:
1. Spoken to the person involved directly myself;
2. Spoken of several of the person's good qualities first.
If I fail to follow this agreement, I will phone the person spoken about directly to inform and apologize to him.
A tremendous decrease in gossip was the result. Why were the correction attempts in both of the previous stories necessary and effective?
What is the Matthew 18 principle (see Matthew 18:15-17)? How was the new minister's policy instituting the first step of this principle?
Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.
But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.
And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.