Say No to Slander
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths,
but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs,
that it may benefit those who listen.
Do you repeat gossip? Do you carefully listen as someone slanders a friend? Or, have you spoken disparaging words about someone out of anger or betrayal?
If you can answer yes to any of these questions, you are a thief. Slander and gossip are stealing. A person’s reputation and good name are valuable. Our names represent who we are. Our name is a treasure. If we use our words to disparage or share half-truths about someone, we are guilty of stealing their good name.
Forgive me for being harsh. Honestly, I answered yes to all of the questions, and I am sure that I felt justified in sharing gossip or gripe about someone.
Consider the other side: Have you been the subject of gossip and slander? I’ve been on the other side of slander, and it is pure destruction.
Many years ago, a woman working with my husband, started to spread vicious rumors and lies about me. I believe she envied my relationship and wanted it to end. This woman would talk to anyone that would listen. In fact, she began to talk about me to my in-laws. It was a terrible time. The slander was so severe that even after she departed our lives, I had to work hard to regain the confidence of my family.
God hates slander.
It steals a person’s treasure, who they are and we all belong to Him. How do we stop gossip and slander?
Putting a halt to slander and gossip begins with you. It is our pride that tempts us to share disparaging remarks about someone else. Defaming others makes us look better.
We must also stop encouraging others to gossip and spread slander. I found this phrase that helps me remember: Friends don’t let friends gossip. Lovingly and truthfully stop gossip in its tracks.
Say no to slander.
Our scripture today reminds us to do just that, stop unwholesome talk and words that damage a person’s good name. Trade slander for words that edify and build a person’s reputation.
Trade gossip for thanksgiving and prayer for those you are tempted to gossip about and slander. Paul writes to the Philippians, “I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy.”
The answer to slander and gossip is giving thanks and prayer.
Father God, forgive us that we are tempted to steal the good reputation of those you love. Again, guard our mouths and give us only edifying words to share with others. We praise you for loving us and giving us your Word that guides and teaches us your ways.