There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him ... and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.
Proverbs 6:16, 19b NIV
The list recorded in Proverbs 6:16-19 includes a number of items that are detestable to God, and most of those items we quickly and heartedly agree with. There's no question that haughty eyes and a lying tongue, or a murderer and a cheat are abominable. Those who rush into evil or would stoop to perjury are to be avoided.
But think for a minute about the last item on the list - stirring up conflict in the community. Eugene Peterson translated the phrase "a troublemaker in the family." We can call this by several names, but suffice it to sat that there's no room for gossip, backstabbing, or demeaning one another. There is a level of seriousness to this kind of behaviour that I don't think we totally understand, for the scriptures say that the Lord detests and hates it.
Applying the principle to the Church, whether we are talking in a global or a local sense, needs the same amount of serious reflection. Remember that Jesus calls the Church his bride, and He wants her to be spotless and blameless. Pauls speaks often of the work and cost of building unity, as well as the need to build each other up, not tear down.
The way we use our words is one of the key ways that we can either fall into this trap, or purposefully rise above it. I noted in my message last week that there's not a chapter in the Proverbs that doesn't touch on the topic of not only what we say, but how we use our words. My prayer for myself, and for my brothers and sisters in Christ in our church community, is that we'd use our words to build people up and to bring unity - then we'll experience what it means to be involved in something that the Lord loves.