Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Is Venting Biblical? - Unity Within The Body of Christ

I’m honored today to welcome fellow Christian author, Jennifer Slattery, to share a relevant message about unity within the body of Christ. Jennifer has recently released her second novel, “When Dawn Breaks.” Information about this book is at the end of the post.

Welcome, Jennifer!

When wronged, it’s tempting to tell the world about our injustice, although in the Christian community, we like to cloak it as a prayer request, venting, or “seeking wise counsel.”

But is venting biblical or could it, in fact, lead to destructive division in the body of Christ?

29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

According to this verse, we need to guard our words carefully, speaking only words that “build others up” and “benefit those who listen.” We must remember it is not about us—our feelings, rights, or vindication. It is about knowing Christ and making Him known.

The greatest way we make Christ known is through love and Christian unity.

Why does Paul urge us to guard our words and purify our hearts? To answer this, we must read a few previous verses:

3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called. (Ephesians 4:3-4) 

Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit.

When we vent, our goal usually is not to seek peace for the situation, as verse 3 commands, but instead, to make ourselves feel better. But at what cost? Our listener only hears one side, and most often, the “offending party” isn’t given a chance to defend themselves. Because of this, our listener is likely to develop judgments based on what they hear. Unfortunately, the “offending party” often learns of this and becomes uncomfortable around all involved. This creates ripples of disunity that lead to distrust that may be irreparable.

This might be why Jesus laid out clear instructions on how to handle conflict in Matthew 18:15:
“If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over.”

He didn’t say, “Gather your prayer group and rehash the situation.”

Nor did He say, “Vent to your friends so you can ‘get it off your chest’ and feel better.”

No. He admonished us to keep the matter “between the two of you.”

According to Scripture, when wronged, the first thing we must do is address the individual, keeping the matter between us.

If the matter still isn’t revolved, we are to move to the next step.

But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses’ (Matthew 18:16) 

Basically, we are to keep the issue between as few of people as possible, making sure to include the individual. That’s not to say we can’t ask others for prayer nor that we can’t seek advice, but when doing so, we should keep things on a “need to know” basis. Our prayer group probably doesn’t need to know the story. In fact, most times you don’t even need to mention names.

In everything we do, may we put unity and love above all else, guarding our tongue so that we speak words that build up, encourage, and inspire.

What are some ways you’ve put this to practice in your own life, and what were the results? Have you been privy to a prayer-group gossip chain? How did that feel, and what were the results? Share your thoughts in the comments below so we can all learn from each other.

Jennifer Slattery writes soul-stirring fiction for New Hope Publishers, a publishing house passionate about bringing God’s healing grace and truth to the hopeless. She also writes for, Internet Café Devotions, and the group blog, Faith-filled Friends. When not writing, Jennifer loves going on mall dates with her teenage daughter and coffee dates with her handsome railroader husband.
Visit with Jennifer online at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud. 

When Dawn Breaks:

As the hurricane forces Jacqueline to evacuate, her need for purpose and restitution motivate her to head north to her estranged and embittered daughter and into the arms of a handsome new friend. However, he’s dealing with a potential conspiracy at work, one that could cost him everything, and Jacqueline isn’t sure if he will be the one she can lean on during the difficult days ahead. And then there are the three orphans to consider, especially Gavin. Must she relinquish her chance at having love again in order to be restored?

You can buy a copy here:

On Barnes and Noble:



  1. Well said, Jennifer. How many times would I, as a ministry leader's wife, have liked to have "vented?" But what good would it do? Nothing but damage. Thanks for the timely post. Very much needed in today's world.

    1. Thanks, Caroline, I bet that was hard and took a great deal of strength! When I feel the need to "get something off my chest" I try to remember I can always go to God in prayer. I can vent to Him all I want. Of course, He normally has a way of flipping things on their heads until my perception becomes saturated with grace. :)

  2. Strange.....I might really be upset with somebody .. but it is easier to vent to someone else...because I do not want to hurt this persons feelings by honestly telling them how I feel. But this can backfire....the person I vented to sometimes talks to the person I am upset with→then that person comes to me angry→and I only made things worse by approaching it the way I did. And as I type this, I am asking myself---" at what point did I pray?? I didn't ! Thank you Jennifer for this lesson.I often do not talk to Jesus enough. If I vented to Him ...I know I would rely on Him to guide me thru the problem.

    1. I can relate, Jean! And I love your focus on prayer. You are so right! We can turn to Jesus any time, and when we do, He grants us the wisdom, grace, and courage to deal with the situation in a way that restores or preserves the relationship and protects unity. :) Thanks, friend.

  3. I work with 8 to 12 year old girls at church and during prayer time, I have to remind them to only give the request. :) it seems we, especially women, want to always give TMI.

    1. That is so true, Jen! But how awesome that those girls are getting trained in unity and grace so young! :) You have such a servant's heart!

  4. Great post!

    One thing I do when I'm upset with someone is to allow myself to be upset for a certain amount of time (like 5-15 mins). During that time, I vent to God. I tell Him all the reasons I'm upset. Usually this helps me get through my emotions and enables me to listen to God's perspective on the matter. I used to go to a few trusted people and vent for a brief time before going to God, but the more I got in the habit of going to God first the more I've realized I don't need to tell anyone else about it. He meets my needs. He wants to be involved in my life and He doesn't judge me for my humanness. He knows I feel this way, no need to hide it from Him. Instead, by taking it to Him I allow Him to heal me and help me to see things through His eyes. All this helps me get through my feelings faster and allows me to move on to restoring the relationship or doing whatever it is God is directing me to do.
    I'm not always good at doing this, it takes practice. But it's well worth the time to develop this habit.

    1. That is so beautiful! What a wonderful example or intimacy with Christ and of Him working in and through us!

  5. This is really, really, really hard for me to put into practice. I know you're right because it says so in the Bible, Jennifer, but I still read it with a heart half open. Just being honest; I'm a work in progress. Prayers please!

  6. Oh, Becky, we all are! Few of us are brave enough to admit that, though! I am going to pray for you right now. :)

  7. There are times something must be stated, but tempered with kindness. If angered, get it out of your system and forgive, but later some may ask questions. Either say NO comment - - or politely tell a sweet version.

  8. Thank you for your words Jennifer. Such truth. A great reminder. Our source of strength is God. . .and God alone. Oh how we can justify so much. Thank you Laura for hosting.