Slander, Libel, The 9th Commandment, and the Internet

Slander & Libel:

Slander: n., The action or crime of making a false spoken statement damaging to a person’s reputation.

Libel: n., A published false statement that is damaging to a person’s reputation; a written defamation.

The Ninth Commandment:

You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.” -Ex 20:16

You shall not spread a false report. You shall not join hands with a wicked man to be a malicious witness.” -Ex 23:1

There are six things that the Lord hates,seven that are an abomination to him…a false witness who breathes out lies,and one who sows discord among brothers.” -Prov 6:16 & 19

For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander.” -Matt 15:19

The violation of the 9th Commandment is no small matter.  In fact, it is listed by Jesus among sins that people much more easily identify: Murder, Theft, Sexual Immorality, and Adultery.  Christians are often very good at “detecting”–or “deducing”–the lies of others, and perhaps recognizing their own when they are undeniable; but when the internet is fired up, and the ability to hide behind a twitter handle or a delete button presents itself, its as though some think that God will not see.  But just as the “Clear Web History” will not delete from God’s eyes what is done in secret, neither will your screen name or delete button hide you from the eyes of God.

The internet, of course, is popular–or perhaps notorious–for its ability to quickly disseminate information (true or false), to a large body of individuals, giving each their own “voice” on a matter.  But as we all know, the first to say something is often the truth-teller, because the ability to correct a lie or false report is often impossible.  Therefore it is wise to be careful how, what, and where we say what we say, for the effects can be damaging to a person, to their witness, to their family, and to their church; and if not a Christian, our words easily become a stumbling block for an individual already looking for a reason to call Christians hypocrites and liars.

So be careful when you:

…pronounce someone guilty before you have proof.

…condemn someone’s teaching without even hearing it or researching.

…believe the report of others without confirming it.

…comment as though you know the ins and outs of the whole situation.

…only hear one side.

…misrepresent the argument of another purposely, or without making effort to understand them properly.

…make private sins into public ones without Biblical due process (Matt 18).

…discredit someone in order to protect your name, argument, or cause.

…use someone’s sin as a weapon to take the moral high ground.

…black mail.


For “on account of these the wrath of God is coming.  In these you too once walked, when you were living in them.  But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.” -Colossians 3:6-10

God is not mocked, and He will hold you accountable for every tweet, post, comment, and blog post…







~ by TSL on June 6, 2014.

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