This is an excerpt from a column Spurgeon used to write answering questions from laity. The question from “Ruth” in this instance was “What can I do to stop scandal in the church?” Spurgeon’s answer is both wise and humorous.
We suggest to her that enough cotton in both ears would prevent her hearing it, and the filling of her mouth all the day long with the praise of God would, render it impossible for her tongue to spread it. This would suffice for her personally. She, however, we suspect, rather wants us to suggest a remedy for the habit of scandal in others. Really we do not know of anything short of the grace of God. While hearts remain unrenewed, tongues will be full of bitterness; and in gracious people while corruption remains, there will be a measure of mouth disease too. Dogs delight to bark and bite, “for ’tis their nature to.” None can rule or tame human tongues except the Omnipotent himself. Solomon talked of hot coals of juniper, and such-like fiery remedies, but we question whether they would be effectual even if they could be applied. One rule we endeavor to follow with regard to gossip, viz.: let the thing die a natural death. If any one reports to us that here is a dirty pool near us, we go in another direction, but never dream of sitting down on its margin to take long sniffs, neither do we indulge the practice of stirring it, and poking a pole to the very bottom of it. We told a friend lately, who said that it was our duty to interpose in the squabbles of another church, that we did not carry a brush in our pocket to scrub all the pigs we met with, and we fancied that if we did we should soon get some of the mire on our own hands. Scandal is like the hydra which lives by being killed, and multiplies itself with every cut you make at it. It is like a very bad house to let, which is ill-drained, has a leaky roof, and is generally out of repair;—it is best let alone. If dogs are asleep don’t wake them, they may bark; and if they are barking don’t interfere with them, for they may bite.
read it all here