Imagine two church members have a conflict (imagine that!), and they both sin against each other, and never reconcile over the conflict. And now imagine that you get wind of this from one of the parties. I would exhort you with Ephesians 4.1-3: “walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”
Let that be your guide, among many other big NT ideas, to help you wade through this situation to bring about a stronger unity in the Body of Christ.
No need to worry about:
- Is this gossip? Gossip is 99% of the time in the heart of the speaker, that is between them and God.
- Should I be hearing this? It doesn’t matter; you just heard it.
- Should I tell them they need to go back to that person one one one in order to follow Matthew 18? Once there is a two-way conflict, it is no longer a true Matthew 18 situation. Matthew 18 is a situation that envisions one person has sinned against another, not a situation in which both have sinned.
Let’s just get past all the technicalities and help each other for Heaven’s sake! Let big, clear principles of love, faith, and unity of the Spirit be your guide and simply help people work through these things. Do not leave it up to somebody else. In God’s providence, if you have heard about the situation, it is YOUR responsibility to walk in a manner worthy of our high calling.
And then if you need help thinking through it still, ask one of your elders for wisdom. And no, you’re not gossiping if you do that!