I have recently been inspired and challenged by Micah 6:8 and God’s charge for us to “act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God” and have discussed how our society does not produce men like this. I’m now looking at some practical ways this plays out in our life, such as integrity with our time, and now, integrity with our words and speech.
Gossip: idle talk or rumor, especially about the personal or private affairs of others.
Slander: a malicious, false, and defamatory statement.
We’ve all heard this or been a part of something like this common talk:
“Did you hear about Adam So-and-so and that girl Eve What’s-her-face? They were caught disobeying God and he threw them out of the Garden!”
But seriously, how many times did you hear some scenario like that in high school? Or how about when one of your friends made you mad, so you started telling lies and stories (slandering) behind their back in order to break them down and make them look bad?
I’m guilty of this one!
So often we speak before we think.
Ever been around a bunch of rowdy guys during their favorite sporting event? Some of us go completely insane at bad calls, missed shots, pass interceptions or whatever the case may be; and respond without thinking about what we are saying.
What does this have to do with slander or gossip? The fact that we usually don’t THINK about what the repercussions of what our actions will be.
The second part of Ephesians 4:29 reminds me of something I heard from my Pastor once:
T.H.I.N.K. before you speak.
- T – is it True?
- H – is it Helpful?
- I – is it Inspiring?
- N – is it Necessary?
- K – is it Kind?
Speaking The Truth, And Making Sure Others Do Too
What about when someone else is spreading rumors, slandering or doing all of these other things that tear others down?
Well, in Exodus 23:1 we are told not to aid such a person by also being a malicious witness.
Does a good and holy God want you to be doing sinful things like spreading lies, breaking others down out of spite or anger, or doing it to make yourself feel better?
If we are to love our neighbor as ourselves, we should keep ourselves and others in-check when these things are happening.
You’re probably thinking, “So what are you saying? If someone else is spreading rumors and making false accusations about someone, I’m supposed to step up and tell them not to do it?”
My answer is, if you want to live a life as a Godly man, “YES!”
Philippians 2:4 sums it up pretty nicely.
How can you claim to be a man of God and not love others by looking to the interest of those that God has put in your life?
If you know God’s heart, then you know that his first priority is his name being known and exalted above all else, second is people and what’s good for them. Would spreading malicious accusations about people be good for them or yourself? Probably not.
Even the book of James talks about this and not just in the famous chapter three, titled, “Taming the Tongue”.
Look at James 1:26. We all, at some point in our lives, have put on this “holier than thou” attitude. Are you religious, or are you in love with Jesus?
There’s a difference.
Jesus never slandered. He never gossiped. He spoke and taught truth. Even when he talked about the Teachers of the Law, he didn’t say things that were not true. Every word that came out of his mouth was directly from God.
A Godly man wants to be like Jesus. A Godly man wants others to be like Jesus. So if we are to be Godly men, we do not gossip or slander, but instead we say and listen to only the things the build others up and point them towards Jesus.
Q: Have you ever had to learn this the hard way or have you dealt with consequences of someone else not doing this well? What’s your experience with gossip and slander and what have you learned?