What can the Apostles and Church Fathers tell us about our times? What advice do they have for our problems? Here are some of their thoughts— ANGER, GOSSIP, AND SLANDER
We live in a time of upheaval in American society. Politicians lie so constantly they have become unbelievable. Gossip diminishes personalities when what they are spreading is untrue. Often slander is repeated in the name of transparency. Across the nation there is an outcry for help.
Throughout the length of scripture, slander is condemned. The first Fathers of the Church were unanimous in condemning evil spread by the tongue. A vicious tongue can break all restraints. Anger and slanderous intent has cut down many a good person.
Do we mess up? Sure we do. Our moral failures dull our minds, hearts, and consciences. Often what we see on television what might be entertaining to watch, but leaves us wrecked if we lived out such behaviors. While we are all guilty of such experiences, the conclusion to be drawn is that we all need forgiveness and a change of behavior.
Here’s what the first Christians taught:
St. John Chrysotom ~ What is the use of sparing fowl and fishes if we eat our own brothers?
St. Anthony ~ What is slander? It is every sort of wicked word we dare not speak in front of the person about whom we are complaining.
St. Jerome ~ Where there are no listeners, there are no slanderers; the combat will close for want of combatants.
The Shepherd of Hermas ~ Love truth and avoid anger or slander. Let your mouth speak nothing but the truth and uplifting words to each other. In the Lord there is no falsehood. Liars and slanders wound the Lord.
A Desert Father ~ If you stand by a brother who is being slandered and do not defend him against those who sinfully attack him, you too are a slanderer and guilty of sin.