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Page 114


A good name is better than precious ointment; and the day of death than the day of one's birth.

- Ecclesiastes 7:1


Thomas Watson wrote, "He that speaks slander has a devils tongue and he that delights in hearing it has a devil's ear."

What does this statement mean, and why is it true?


Then said they, Come, and let us devise devices against Jeremiah;... Come, and let us smite him with the tongue, and let us not give heed to any of his words.

- Jeremiah 18:18


What double evil is involved when persons slander those placed in authority over them?

other purposes, not for deceiving others. Everyone knows that a fictional story is a self-made, not a true story. The forty parables of the Lord Jesus are examples of this truth. Christ's parables were created stories, not true stories; they were told to teach various lessons by means of examples.

The ninth commandment forbids all forms of gossiping, slandering, and false witnessing. As a lamb may be innocent and yet be attacked by wolves, so an innocent person can be attacked by slanderers. God forbids all talking about others in a way which would harm their reputation. Some people would not think of stealing their neighbor's goods and yet feel free to rob him of his reputation - a possession of greater value than all his material belongings, for "a good name is rather to be chosen than great riches" (Proverbs 22:1a).

Satan is the accuser of God's children. He loves to talk about their failures, shortcomings, and weaknesses. Satan is the father of lies and a slanderer from the beginning. Delighting to slander or to tell stories about others' failings is devilish - it is the work that Satan "enjoys" and with which he is busy. Thomas Watson wrote, "He that speaks slander has a devil's tongue, and he that delights in hearing it has a devil's ear."

Slandering or evil gossiping wounds or kills another with words. Some people would never think of actually killing another person and yet feel free to murder others with their tongue. The wounds of the tongue go deep; no human physician can heal them. Slandering is done by telling harmful untruths, partial truths, or distortions of the truth to damage the reputation of the other.

The spirit underlying slander or evil gossip is the opposite of that required in Scripture - that of love toward others, of desiring the best for each one. "Charity (or love) suffereth 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" (I Corinthians 13:4-7). Love thinks, hopes, and speaks the best of another. Gossip and slander imagine, suspect, and talk about the worst of another.

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