Can you remember a situation that left you doing a facepalm while you lamented, “Why did I open my mouth?”
You spoke words you shouldn’t have when you shouldn’t have, and what came rolling effortlessly off your tongue unintentionally slapped someone across the face with offense.
You tried to find ways to justify the words you spoke:
You forgot she was there listening.
You didn’t mean it that way.
You just weren’t thinking.
All of those things may be true, but it doesn’t change the fact that those words were already lurking in your heart and jumped at the opportunity to spew out in pride and self-affirmation.
And that was just one time we got caught in gossip—not to mention the countless other times we’ve rattled off juicy bits and pieces to our friends when the person we’re gabbing about isn’t anywhere nearby.
Lately God has been pointing out how much slicing and dicing my tongue does. Like a chef’s knife expertly sharpened with criticism, I can chop with precision. And like the stinging pain that results from getting nicked with a blade, my words can do damage. I’ve been asking God to help me retire the knife.
So when I read the chapter about slander in Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth’s new book, Adorned: Living Out the Beauty of the Gospel Together, I was intensely convicted by my tongue’s negative power—but I was also encouraged and equipped with tools to help me repent and change course.
Like me, you might not consider your loose tongue to be as big a deal as other sins, but take a look as what Nancy says about slander:
As a clue to how serious this matter of slander should be to us, the word translated as “slanderers” in Titus 2:3—which other translations render as “malicious gossips” (NASB) or “false accusers” (KJV)—is the Greek word diabolos, from which we derive our English word diabolical.
This word—diabolos—appears thirty-eight times in the New Testament. And in all but four of those occurrences, it’s used to refer to Satan.
Give that a moment to sink in.
Diabolos. Slander is devilish (pp. 112–113).
To slander is to be like Satan. That’s a really big deal—and that’s the exact opposite behavior we want to reflect as daughters of the King.
Nancy goes on to say:
So lest we think of our runaway mouths as inconsequential in the grand scheme of things, let’s remember whose acrid, smoke-filled company they place us in. Let’s remember, too, that Jesus Himself included the sin of slander in the same list as murder, adultery, and sexual immorality (Matt. 15:19). Are we as concerned and shocked over the sin we commit with our tongues as we are over the evil behavior of others?
May the Lord open our eyes to see how sinister our bent toward slanderous, stinging talk really is (p. 114).
It’s time we take our critical, negative, bitter, prideful, divisive words seriously. Because God takes them seriously.
Let’s search our hearts with these questions:
- When I’m with my friends, am I scanning the recent gossip waves for any news to share?
- Do I speak without considering the content and tone of my forthcoming words? Will they build up or tear down?
- How often are my texts characterized by ugly, hurtful words about others rather than positive, uplifting words?
- Do I encourage others to share the “dirt” they’ve got on people we know?
God, help us become women who desire to shut down the “slander machine” (as Nancy puts it), and help us to speak words that drip with kindness and Your grace!
I highly recommend that you pick up a copy of Adorned so that you can read the entire chapter about slander—and more! (Really. This book is a must-read!)
And it’s Friday, so that means you’ve got another chance to enter to win a copy! Enter the giveaway widget below, and leave a comment answering this question:
Do you underestimate the seriousness of slander? In what areas or situations is God challenging you surrender your words to Him?