As I sit here in our living room, traffic begins to pick up on the state highway outside. It's dark. And cold. The only noise that varies from the sound of automobiles going north and south is the clacking of the keys as I type and the ticking of the clock above the mantle of the fireplace. Soon the boys alarms will be going off and the school day will begin. An apple sits next to me on the couch. My coffee (Gevalia's Limited Edition, Paupa New Guinea) is situated close at hand as well.
Now is a perfect time to get back to Psalm 15 and my look at Who Shall Dwell on Your Holy Hill? We have worked through two verses in this Psalm, and now begin v.3 with this phrase: "...he does not slander with his tongue...".
This idea of slander is one of falsification, of adulterating the truth. Speaking falsehoods, presumably against one's fellow man. Perhaps it goes a bit farther then our immediate thought of "lying". Deception. Manipulation. Distorting.
My mind immediately slips back to Genesis and the serpent's conversation with Eve. Not outright lying, but surely an adulteration of truth.
The outcome of slander is destruction. Truth destroyed. People destroyed. Relationships destroyed. There is never an appropriate time to be dishonest. Let me re-state that lest, in this post-modern age in which we live, we miss it. It is never right to lie. To falsify truth. To twist truth. To adulterate truth. To distort.
I started thinking about how this practically plays out in our lives. Slander immediately takes my mind to interpersonal relationships. I don't view slander as truth distortion - at least I didn't until I started thinking about this phrase. I think we need to be more careful in how we speak about one another, to one another. We need to make sure our speech is edifying and truthful.
The opposite of slandering would be edifying, even speaking the truth in love. See Ephesians 4 for more details.
God states that if someone desires to inhabit His holy hill, they can't be characterized by a slanderous tongue. We would do well to heed this challenge. Perhaps a New Testament reading of James 3 and Matthew 12 would be in order.
My apple awaits. The kids are starting to awake. I've got about 16 hours ahead of me that I can put this challenge of not slandering with my tongue into practice.
I embrace the day.