Thursday, June 30th. Slander
Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. Titus 2:3
At first glance, I find this verse amusing. I picture a church small group of drunken little old ladies, wearing bonnets, hiccupping and gossiping the day away. We however, should not miss the pointed instruction, as it is not limited to a certain demographic. It is not incidental or accidental that Paul included slander in the same breath as addiction when listing destructive behaviors.
I found myself recently, in my men’s coffee group, saying some very hurtful things about someone who was not present. Now, I would never consume alcohol or drugs with this group (or in any setting), but I found it completely appropriate (at the moment) to say horrible things about another person. Why would I do this?
Make no mistake. We get something out of our destructive behaviors. We give in to our flesh nature because it feels good to us (momentarily at least). Putting others down builds us up. We can share a prayer request about another’s failure and make ourselves feel better. If however, prayer does not follow that prayer request, we are just being selfish, hurtful and destructive. That destruction may not be obvious at the moment, but the tongue is a fire that can set the whole world ablaze (James 3:6).
Many (not just little old ladies) are addicted to slanderous gossip as surely as some of us have been addicted to drugs or alcohol. That this addiction is acceptable in our social and church circles makes it that much more dangerous. The insidious destruction of slander may not be as obvious as alcoholism, but it is to be no better tolerated.
I need to choose daily to watch my tongue. I want my words to be used for God, not for self.