Only recently have I understood the full ramifications of slander and gossip and its devastating effects on our lives. We see the effects daily and probably don’t even see it for what it is. To demonstrate the point I am trying to get across, I will use the example of politics (without being political), as every one is aware there is a mammoth gulf between the “conservative” party and the “liberal” party.
Frist of all, we have to understand how slander works. If you are slandered with a lie – or even if the slander should have some truth in it – the act of slander diminishes the honor of the person slandered, with the effect of increasing the honor of the person doing the slander. Most of the time the people who slander others are fully aware of what they are doing. This can be seen clearly in our political realm. There is only so much honor, so if one can take it from the opposing party and move it to his party, it has the effect of strengthening his party at the expense of the opposing party. It’s a cancer affecting us all – both the slanderer and the party being slandered.
For many of us, we have seen this in our own families and have seen the absolute destruction such behavior has caused. It is even more prevalent where one child is perceived to have been given more privileges (honor) than the other siblings. It may be that the offended siblings feel that if they can dishonor (slander) the one gaining the perceived favor and lessen his honor, that they will gain honor. We can see this sinful nature everywhere if we open our eyes. I say “sinful,” so let’s look at the what the Bible teaches about slander. To begin, I will direct you to the referenced article from Providence Bible Fellowship They have provided an excellent blog at this location: http://providencebf.blogspot.com/2012/08/gossip-and-slander.html?m=1 As always, we may not agree with everything they publish, but we find this article “spot on.” We highly recommend you read the entire blog, but the part pertinent to the immediate discussion is excerpted here:
“Slander is intentionally sharing harmful information about someone to damage the person’s reputation. It is intended to cause a person to be diminished in the minds of others. That may not sound so horrible, but most people don’t know that the word “devil” in our New Testament comes from the Greek word for slander. The word is diabolos. If our Bibles were super literal, we would read in Matthew4:1 that “Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the slanderer.” Likewise, 1 Pet 5:8 would read, “your adversary, the slanderer, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”
You see, the sin of slander is so closely tied to the character of the devil that he is referred to as “the slanderer” 33 times in the New Testament, only two times fewer than he is referred to by his proper name, Satan. The Bible teaches that the devil occupies himself day and night slandering and accusing the saints before God (Rev 12:10). So when we slander, we engage in the same activity as the devil, the very activity with which he is most closely associated.
And gossip is nothing less than secret slander. We could think of it as surreptitiously engaging in the same deeds as the devil. Gossip is not an innocuous activity. No wonder we find it listed in the Bible alongside quarreling, jealousy, anger, hostility, conceit, disorder, impurity, sexual immorality, sensuality, unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice, envy, murder, strife, deceit, hatred of God, insolence, pride, boasting, invention of evil, rebelliousness, foolishness, faithlessness, heartlessness, ruthlessness, and the celebration of all these things (Rom 1:29-32; 2 Cor 12:20-21). We must take gossip seriously.
I would like to add a couple thoughts to the above teaching. We find in Hebrews 10:26-27, the “unforgivable sin.” This is when one continues to sin with a defiant heart, i.e. the sin continues unabated. It is the responsibility of us all to inform a person that slanders that it is morally and Biblically wrong and they should cease their slander. Secondly, the person being slandered should be notified of the slander against him, so that he has the opportunity of rebuttal. Maybe if this was standard procedure, slander would diminish. We are all guilty at one time or another and it is our duty to stop the destructive sin.
Hope you enjoyed this article and as always we would love to hear your comments on how this issue has affected you.
Kitty and Jerry Moore