Is it wrong to talk about others’ faults, even if their true?
Suggested Daily Reading: Genesis 9:20-27
Every person sins and makes mistakes. When we observe this in the lives of others or hear about it, how we choose to respond is important. Read Genesis 9:20-27. Ham, one of Noah’s three sons, observed a sinful failure of his father. He chose to gossip about it and went and told his brothers (and possibly his son Canaan, and others). Shem and Japheth, the other two sons, chose to respond differently. Instead of broadcasting their father’s sin, they covered it. The result was that Noah (and God) blessed Shem and Japheth and cursed Canaan.
Gossiping is choosing to talk about the sins and failures of others. This is sinful. A person’s reputation or good name is valuable (Eccl. 7:1; Prov. 22:1). Some people who would not think of murdering or stealing valuable goods from another, appear to have no problem to kill another with words and rob another of his or her reputation, which is of great value.
Slandering is even worse than gossiping. It adds the sin of lying. Slandering is speaking evil about others that is not true. It comes from a desire to harm or destroy the reputation of another.
Satan is the great and continual accuser of God’s children (Rev. 12:10). He constantly points to and speaks about the failures and shortcomings of believers. The devil is the father of lies and a slanderer from the beginning (Gen. 3:4-5). To delight in talking about the failures of others or to slander others is devilish. Thomas Watson wrote, “He that speaks a slander has a devil’s tongue, and he that delights in hearing it has a devil’s ear.”
The spirit underlying gossip and slander is the opposite of that commanded in Scripture. We are called by God to bring forth the fruits of the Holy Spirit and of love (charity) and not the fruits of the evil spirit and hatred. Pray and strive to seek the best for others and not to harm others. Let this be your goal to grow in love (charity) to others. “Charity suffers long, and is kind; charity envieth not: charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; beareth all things, believeth all things, endureth all things” (1 Cor. 13:4-7).
Love thinks, hopes and speaks respectfully and in the best way possible of others. Gossip and slander imagine, suspect and talk disrespectfully and in the worst way possible of others. Radiate love, not hate.
Why is gossip and slander devilish? How can children of God be distinguished from children of Satan in how they think and speak about others? Are you praying and striving to be respectful, caring and loving toward others?