The idea of slander has been widely understood and is even referred to in the first codification of the Praetorian Edict,which had declared that action could be brought for shouting at someone who had acted in a manner contrary to good morals. At this time, the offense was essentially limited to the public proclamation of otherwise false or injurious statements harmful to one’s honor or standing in the community. Defamation was defined as shouting falsities contrary to the morals of the city, or shouting something that might bring the exposed person into disrepute or contempt, thus giving rise to an injurious action (actio injurarum).In these cases, the truth of the statements was not a justification for the public and insulting manner in which they were made. The accused, however, had the opportunity to justify his actions by openly stating that what he had said he considered necessary for the public’s safety. (Dartmouth Law Journal: Defamation: Tort or Crime? pg 1.)
History is rife with colorful examples of slander employed in the most seditious ways. For example, the Red Scare of the 1950’s when Senator Joseph R. McCarthy began his anticommunist crusade. Using hearsay and bully tactics in order to elevate his own position and status in American politics, McCarthy threw slanderous charges against celebrities, intellectuals, politicians, and anyone else that stood in opposition. These terrible allegations cast against various people would result in ruined careers and reputations, until finally, close colleagues spoke out against his tactics.
Abraham Linclon was a man that knew too well the malicious sword of slander. On more than one occasion, he felt the terrible blows of slander that attacked what was most precious to all men; a good name. One such incident involved Lincoln as he was surveying the terrible toll of battle on the field of Antietam a few days after the fight. It was reported, and the source was never truly known, that as Linclon surveyed the numerous bodies that littered the plains of battle, that he slapped Marshal Lamon on the knee and asked for the comic song of “Picayune Butler,” to be sung. This news would sweep through the newspapers and dominate much of a presidential campaign that would use the following ditty of slander against Abraham Lincoln:
‘Abe may crack his jolly jokes O’er bloody fields of stricken battle, While yet the ebbing life-tide smokes From men that die like butchered cattle; He, ere yet the guns grow cold, To pimps and pets may crack his stories,’ etc.
When many pushed Mr. Lincoln to voice a denial, he felt that it was best to ignore it. Finally, when Lincoln was pushed into action based upon numerous letters received, the true story would be told. What was the truth? Lincoln was a man who enjoyed music very much and often had music accompany his moods. Thus, as Lincoln surveyed the scene of death over the field of Antietam, he slapped Lamon on the knee and said, “sing me some sad little songs.” Responding to the request of the President, Mr. Lamon went on to sing some sad songs. Yet, when the mood of President Lincoln seemed to become more melancholy and depressed, Lamon threw in “Picayune Butler,” a comic song that served to hopefully boost the spirits of Mr. Lincoln who was in such a sad state. Later, Mr. Lincoln would declare:
“Truth is generally the best vindication against slander.” – Abraham Lincoln
Slander is false accusation. It is a damnable action that attempts to destroy the most precious of all things that man has; his good name. It is one thing to steal from a man his livestock, jewels, and precious wealth,but it is another to steal from a man his well-earned reputation based upon even a sliver of a half- truth.
Proverbs 22:1 (KJV)
1 A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold.
Ecclesiastes 7:1 (KJV)
1 A good name is better than precious ointment; and the day of death than the day of one’s birth.
It was the promise of a great nation, offspring as of the sand of the seas and the stars of the heaven, and blessings untold that accompanied Abraham on his journey out of Mesopotamia. Yet amid all these incredible blessings which involved future prosperity of seed and nation was the promise that God would give Abraham a GREAT NAME, (Genesis 12:2.)
Call it what you want, but we are living in an Apostolic society which has trained an army of assassins. These are not assassins of spiritual wickedness in high places. These are not trained experts in the art of devil destruction. No! These are expert killers of reputations, names, and offices whose craft is Character Assassination. “Did you hear?” “What do you know about so-and-so?” “Oh, you better pray for such-and-such.” “I don’t know all the details, but…” Men that love God ought to be LOVERS OF TRUTH.
The devil is a liar and the father of lies. He is the accuser of the brethren and whether we want to admit it or not, scripture does not specify the devil as the false accuser or the truthful accuser. He is simply the accuser! Sadly, Satan has less work to attend to because so many of us are doing his work for him! It is almost as though human nature alone has a hard time enjoying the success of others because our own pride envies what we have not worked for. Why then is our flesh so attracted to the failures, dismal dismay, and plight of men and women of the faith? Behind closed doors I doubt the whispers and the murmurs or the conversations beginning with, “don’t say that I said this,” are in regards to the tremendous successes of a neighboring pastor, evangelist, or ministry heralded for great success.
The is nothing more DAMNING of our own reputation than the destruction of somebody elses. God forbid that we are ever found to be clutching the ruined good name of men and women and God demands from us an explanation of why! God forbid we become members of “Apostolic” forums, preacher forums, or any social media that peddles the nasty wares of heresay. “But…DID YOU HEAR?” Dear sir…Ma’am, politely I ask….”DID YOU PRAY?”
Jesus knew intimately the effects of slander as he hung from a cross, flesh hanging and bones revealed, the crowds laughing and ridiculing His plight. Joseph knew well the effects of slander as temptation was avoided and yet prison became his home. What of Ahimelech under the accusing finger of DOEG, or should I rather say DOG? Sure, DOEG told the truth…but he did not tell the whole truth. When David came to Nob having fled from Saul and petitioned the priest Ahimelech for food and safety, it was David that lied to Ahimelech. Ahimelech acted under allegiance to Saul and yet cared for the Son-in-Law David by offering hospitality. However, when Saul in an outrage demanded to know if anyone conspired against him, it was Doeg who spoke of Ahimelech that gave David a sword and food.
Just one little omission and Doeg turned the paranoid king against an innocent man. Doeg knew what he was doing! Sure, he didn’t lie, but there is still something to be said of the sin of omission. When Saul demanded Ahimelech slain, none would lift the sword to kill such the man of such high office in God’s employ, yet DOEG was more than willing and on that tragic day 85 plus 1 of the order of the priesthood lay choking on their blood. They were killed by the SWORD OF SLANDER.
1 Samuel 22:22 (KJV)
22 And David said unto Abiathar, I knew it that day, when Doeg the Edomite was there, that he would surely tell Saul: I have occasioned the death of all the persons of thy father’s house.