Christian Recovery Group Rule of Never Gossip

The Importance of Trust and Opening up in a Christian Recovery Group Setting

Butterflies and the Law of Kindness
At the beginning of a Christian Recovery group, the Never Gossip rule should be discussed in detail because it is always harmful. In most group situations, members tend to form subgroups and cliques, expressing negative reactions outside of the group while remaining silent when in session. This causes bad attitudes among the group and a lack of trust and feelings of isolation for those not included. These participants may close down emotionally during group for fear of being talked about later. It is up to the counselor to notice this kind of behavior and put a stop to it, before the gossip and negativity damages the good work being done.

It is best for facilitators to bring gossiping issues out in the open during group, but without using names. Remind participants about the rule. By bringing it up, group members can air their feelings and change their behaviors. If gossip is stopped in time, the trust can be rebuilt.

When it comes to gossip, circumstances can vary, so it is good to deal with each situation differently. If one person is gossiping constantly and several members are disturbed by it, talk to that person in private. Do not use all the names of the members and stir up more trouble. Never repeat what they all said. Otherwise, the gossiper will feel gossiped about. That is not the goal. The goal is for members to stop the negative talk and to focus on the well-being of the group. Use good judgment and it will work out.

In a healthy counseling group, conflict is recognized, discussed and resolved. And the facilitator has learned to offer stories and examples without names, unless otherwise agreed to by the person whose story it is to tell.

Below are a few of the verses in the Bible that deal with this subject:

Proverbs 6:16-19: "These six things the LORD hates, Yes, seven are an abomination to Him; A proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that are swift in running to evil, a false witness who speaks lies, and one who sows discord among brethren."

Proverbs 13:3: "He who guards his mouth preserves his life, but he who opens wide his lips shall have destruction."

Proverbs 14:23: "In all labor there is profit, but idle chatter leads only to poverty."

Gossip does not necessarily have to be lies. Even the truth can hurt when it is told in secret. No one likes to be talked about behind their back, especially by peers.

A good facilitator will help every member feel included and ensure that all participants are vocal and active in the group. When communication among most participants is open, everyone can express themselves and receive feedback from the facilitator and other members.

Written by: Sherry Colby