Saturday, February 23, 2008

Understanding slander

In the past couple of weeks I have been studying ungodly speech. I’ve followed through the McArthur Study Bible’s references regarding slander, and written them out. An important part of learning to love one another is learning to control our tongues. The first steps toward doing this are prayer and the study of God’s word. The Bible forbids many kinds of ungodly and/or unwise speech.

Whispering and backbiting are listed amongst the sins that characterise the ungodly
(Romans 1:29 – 30)

Gossip is condemned in 1 Timothy 5:13.

Defamation is described in Jeremiah 20:10, as mockers are attacking the prophet.

False Witnesses are condemned in many biblical passages, including Exodus 20:16.

Judging uncharitably is described in James 1:11 – 12, and McArthur argues that this passage particularly condemns careless, critical, slanderous accusations.

Evil suspicions are condemned in 1 Timothy 6:4, indicating that we should not pass on our “evil suspicions” regarding the conduct of others.

Repeating matters relating to the transgressions of others is not loving, and actually separates friends (Proverbs 17:9).

My motivation for studying these and many other scriptures was the tendency for the Internet to foster and promote slander. God's rules for loving one another don't cease here. When we don't know people it is so much easier to slander them. When we have personal contact with individuals we know what we disagree with them on, but we also know their good points and the things we love about them. On the Internet it is easy to see people as a particular viewpoint we don't agree with, and to stop treating them as brothers and sisters in Christ.

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