Political cartoon showing MP James Mackenzie being unjustly slandered. He’s rescued by PM Robert Gascoyne-Cecil
Illustration by cartoonist JM Staniforth, 1899, Evening Express, Wales
20 And he said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. 21 For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, 22 coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. 23 All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”
The above words of Christ should be sobering to us. Before looking at it in more detail, though, we should compare it to another passage where Christ said something about the words we use.
36 But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.
~ Mt 12:36
Can we really kid ourselves that this only applies to speech? Does it not refer to writing as well?
There are a couple of observations I would like to make about the above passage in Mark 7:
- Notice that what we say and do starts with a thought and then proceeds outward. They come from the heart.
- If something is not true (cf Php 4:8), then it is slander or libel. In order to not bear false witness, one must be able and willing to present evidence, which means fact and not merely opinion or conjecture.
- The word for “slander” in the English Standard Version of Mark 7:22 is translated “blasphemy” in the King James Version.
This last point is particularly important, IMO, for it points to what blasphemy really is. Doing a search for “blasphem*” shows that there are three entries for the Greek root translated into “blasphemously”, “blasphemy” and “blasphemer”, all from the same word root. Obviously, these are just the different parts of speech for the same word.
Strong’s G988 says of blasphemia that it means primarily “slander, detraction, speech injurious, to another’s good name”, but only secondarily does it mean “impious and reproachful speech injurious to divine majesty”. Consider what that means!
It is the same word connected to Jesus’ warning about the unpardonable sin:
31 Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.
~ Mt 12:31
There are some things that are dangerous to do, even in this life.
The verb form is blasphemeo, Strong’s G987, which does not stipulate speaking against “divine majesty”, but adds “revile” to the list.
23 Thou that makest thy boast of the law, through breaking the law dishonourest thou God?
24 For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you, as it is written.
So, not only words can result in blasphemy, but also deeds!
Slander has a lot more variations in the OT Hebrew, though. There are even several more that can be translated slander, including the “evil report” that 10 of the spies that went up to Canaan gave the Children of Israel when they returned from their trip.
The result of this slander was that the Children of Israel “murmured against Moses and against Aaron” and they then cried out as to why the LORD brought them up from Egypt to “fall by the sword” (Nu 14:2-3).
“Murmur” is an interesting word. It comes from Strong’s H3885, luwn, and it means among other things “to lodge, stop over, pass the night, abide”. In several places, it is used to refer to the command to not “leave” sacrifices beyond a certain point in time! The word can also mean “to cause to rest or lodge”. It’s secondary usage is to murmur or complain!
Do we grasp what transpired with the slander that the 10 spies gave about the land of Canaan? It “rested” on the hearts and minds of the Children of Israel, and thus became a bitter complaint against Moses, Aaron and even God!
Notice that not only the spies who gave a slanderous report are guilty here. Temptation is not sin, but if we do not put it out of our minds, it becomes sin after sitting and festering for a while! It then has to come out in some form, and after festering it comes out as sin (Jas 1:13-15). The Children of Israel did not have to let the slander lie there upon their hearts and minds!
All of the complaining and murmuring of the Children of Israel should point out one fundamental fact: Slander is infectious! It spreads and becomes complaining, murmuring and a lack of faith!
Not only that, but the lesson should also be clear that what the Children of Israel did was slander God! They complained, and not indirectly, that God led them and their little ones out to the wilderness to kill them! It was a form of blasphemy! Do we understand why God became so angry with them?
Need for Proof
That is why I keep harping on the need for evidence. If you have something negative to say about someone, show me the proof! Whispering, lies and innuendo are not godly!
8 The words of gossips are like choice snacks;
they go down to the inmost parts.
The lies become a part of you!
However, God stands for truth (Jn 17:17). There is no “shadow of turning”, “nor darkness” (CJB), which means that there is nowhere that the light of His truth doesn’t penetrate in all of His divine character! He has no part with gossip or slander, only the truth!
So, whenever I hear things like doctrine is “selling a product” and that this product is paid for “with their tithes and offerings”, then I have to ask, “Where is the proof?” Don’t give me insinuations. Don’t give me conjecture. Give me proof!
Don’t get me wrong. There is such a thing as marketing the Gospel message. Even Paul did that! He spoke at Mars Hill about what? He spoke about the “Unknown God”! A bit of marketing genius, if I’ve ever seen it! However, was he looking to make a profit from his adventures? How many times did he refuse payment of any sort? Was kicked out of town? Was stoned? Was arrested? Did Paul do this for fun and profit?
However, to go as far as to say someone is pushing their agenda for a profit motive is a pretty serious charge! Where is the proof?
When someone says that COGWA is “supporting the HWA belief system at least in name”, what does that even mean? Who in COGWA is stating anything of the kind? Where is the evidence?
When someone says that UCG is becoming “Pentecostal”, where is the proof? I can tell you, I’ve come across recent evidence that some in UCG have a fairly evangelical bent, and I intend to try to make time to post more about that! However, “Pentecostal” is a pretty weird angle to try to attack them, if you ask me! Where is the evidence? I would suggest that some people literally have no clue what “Pentecostal” or even “charismatic” means!
And, I would like you remind the reader: My mother was raised a “holy roller”. I know what “Pentecostal” means!
Seriously, if you had an algebra teacher that insisted that 1 + 1 = 3, then why would anyone in their right mind want to go to that teacher to learn about exponents? Linear equations? Division, even? If they cannot get the basics right, what good will the rest of it be?
Then, when that same teacher begins to deride and debase their fellow educators, what should the students and parents think of this? They should consider it slander! They should rise up, go to the principal and demand to go to another teacher that teaches and works in reality! In the end, this false algebra teacher is slandering the entire educational system and the school board which upholds it.
Replace that faulty algebra teacher with a false religious teacher, and replace the school board with God the Father and Jesus the Christ, and it all becomes quite clear, does it not?