In the church we must be careful concerning our speech and conversation. To keep from speaking something according to our particular desire is a real suffering. If we can bear this suffering, we can bear any suffering. A brother may wrong us, but for the Lord’s glory and for the sake of the church life, we should not speak a word about it. This is the exercise of long-suffering mentioned in Ephesians 4:2. …Our speech and conversation damage the church more than anything else….Word after word is passed on by telephone calls, letters, and personal contact. This builds up nothing but instead damages the church.
If we consider our past, we will realize how much we have been involved in this practice of passing on stories, unconsciously creating rumors. Once a story is secondhand, it begins to change, and eventually it can become a great exaggeration. This is always the case with rumors. In order to learn the lesson of long-suffering, we need to experience the suffering of restricting our mouth and stopping our tongue. We may see and hear many things, but we should not speak a word without the anointing and leading of the Holy Spirit. We must not let the enemy use our tongue for his purpose. Regardless of what happens to us, even if a brother wrongs us, we should not say a word. If we have learned the lesson of long-suffering, we will not enjoy our improper speaking. Instead, we will suffer by saying nothing. Either way we will have suffering. If we do not suffer through long-suffering, we will suffer in a negative way by our speaking. It is better to choose long-suffering. Then we will be saved from the wrong kind of suffering, and the church life will be kept from damage. No one taught us this lesson in the way of Bible teaching, but by the Lord’s mercy we have learned this from our experience. (Collected Works of Witness Lee, 1965, vol. 1, “The Vision, Practice, and Building Up of the Church as the Body of Christ,” ch. 13)