first glance, the Bible seems to contradict itself in this area. On the one hand, it speaks strongly against gossip. Proverbs 20:19 says, ". . .do not associate with a gossip." Other passages like 1 Timothy 5:13 and 2 Thessalonians 3:11 condemn "busybodies"
who "speak about things not proper to mention."
Likewise, some passages defend the idea of confidentiality. Proverbs 11:13 says, "He who goes about as a talebearer reveals secrets,
but he who is trustworthy conceals a matter." Matthew 18:15 says, "If your brother sins, go and reprove him in private. . ." This implies the desirability of leaving the issue alone if it's satisfactorily resolved.
Christians should relate to each other on the basis of responsible trust. If you trust someone enough to confide in them, you also should trust them enough to handle the information in the most helpful way.
We all have seen wreckage gossip can cause: hurt feelings, destroyed trust and ruined relationships. Above all, gossip can create mistrust and fear of opening up because what
is shared will be broadcast all over the place. Also, people may not open up about serious problems, or may sanitize their versions of those problems unless we can offer them the safety of confidentiality.
On the other hand, the Bible sometimes speaks strongly about the need to tell others about
someone else's problems. Matthew 18:16,17—the same passage that recommends resolving it in private—commands making it public if necessary. And 1 Timothy 5:20 states that the elder who “continues in sin” should be rebuked “in the
presence of all.” We can conclude from passages like these that when we sin, we don't have the right to insist other Christians cover for us.
Other passages indicate that
discussing others' sins may be necessary for the healthy working of the local church:
One reason for the high character qualifications of leaders ("not double-tongued") is so
they can be trusted to handle this kind of knowledge responsibly. Passages requiring leaders to be "above reproach" (1 Timothy 3; Titus 1) imply that a Christian should come forward if they know that leader or would-be leader is under reproach.
The metaphors of the church as a body and a family argue powerfully for the openness of Christians both with one another and about one
another. Members are affected by those in need (1 Corinthians 12:26); they should help those in need (Romans 12:15), but they cannot help if they are not told
of the need.
The "one another" passages (Galatians 6:2; James 5:16) are in the plural. They are to be understood not only in the individual sense (i.e. counselor/client session),
but also as a family helping each other.