“Channel surfing” from yesterday’s thoughts transitions to “slander” for us to ponder today. Tonight, I believe, is our first presidential debate and for sure the “fact checkers” will be on duty. Both parties will find as many distortions of truth as they can. James warns against judging others. Of course James is talking about within the body of believers but perhaps there is an element of truth for politics also? When we judge, he says, we put ourselves over the law and assume the authority to enforce it. But if we have no power to enforce the law, he reasons, by what right do we tear apart another with the law?
The Biblical story that comes to mind involves Moses, Aaron, and Miriam in Numbers 12. All three siblings were significant people in leading the Israelites from Egypt to the Promised Land. Moses, the leader, Aaron the first high priest, and Miriam the song leader worked together. But Moses took a new wife, a Cushite, and Miriam grumbled against Moses. We don’t know underlying causes but we do know Miriam and Aaron starting speaking against Moses and his new wife. God stepped in and punished Miriam and Aaron. God reiterates that he is working with his leader and Miriam is out of line.
Slandering others seems to be a form of self-justification. Ooops, that word “self” has slipped in again and my focus has turned from God unto me. Slander is not God-focused but self-focused because I place myself in the seat of God and judge. We diminish this on the everyday level by calling it “idle gossip” but slander in all its forms is dangerous, divisive, and destructive. The tongue (Chapter 3) undisciplined destroys fellowship and communities
As we listen to all the information we hear surfing the news channels, may we be careful that we do not ignorantly slander others by passing on information to make ourselves look informed and knowledgeable. Lord, help us during elections!