Far and away the most prominent response to conflict is gossip. Someone hurts us or does something that we think is wrong and our first response is to talk about it with other people. “Did you see what so-and-so did?” or “Can you believe it?” Sometimes is comes disguised as advice, “So-and-so did such and such to me and I’m not sure what to think about it. What would you do? Should I say something?” or disguised as a prayer with others. The problem with gossip is that it forces the person listening into the judges seat, but only has one side of the story. The person being spoken about gets no hearing because to ask would reveal that there was gossip going on.
The Bible is very clear how to handle conflict which aims to restore. Gossip never restores but extends the relationship rift.
“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. (Matthew 18:15-17 ESV)
McCheyne’s Bible Reading Plan: Jos 10, Ps 142-143, Jer 4, Mt 18