“Lord, who may dwell in your sanctuary? … He who speaks truth from his heart and has no slander on his tongue, who does his neighbor no wrong and casts no slur on his fellow man.” Ps 15:1-3
Slanderers make malicious, false, or even true statements about others with the intent of damaging their reputation, character or good name.
Why do we do this to people? Why, really? Just ask yourself “Why did I feel the need to destroy that person’s character in the eyes of another?” Is it out of anger? Envy? Pain? Supposed self-defense? A sense of justice or retaliation? Out of insecurity?
I did this the other day with the company who destroyed my lawn. I’m kinda embarrassed about it, and it wasn’t a good negotiating tactic either. (But God was gracious and it’s all been resolved now, thank heaven!)
My kids will defend their comments – “But Mom, it’s true!” Over and over I say the same thing back to them,
“Just because it’s true doesn’t mean you have to say it!”
That’s why the whole family had to memorize Ephesians 4:29 “Let no unkind word come out of your mouth, but only what is helpful for building others up.”
There is no reason for me to snuff out anybody’s light so that mine will shine.
Remember that promotions and success in life come from God rather than man (Ps 75:6-7). This truth should make us not only team players, but less driven to make ourselves look fantastic at the expense of others.
And what about when we are slandered? That’s tough and we’d like to strike back. Yet we are warned in Romans 12: 17 “Repay no one evil for evil. Respect what is right in the sight of all men.” Instead our behavior is to be stellar, speaking “… with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame.” 1 Peter 3:15-16
Tough instructions. Let’s just stick to telling the truth, and only when it’s helpful and kind. Enough said.
30 Days to Taming Your Tongue, a Bible study by Deborah Pegues