Slanderer’s talk

“Give no ear to the slanderer’s talk nor let your talk run on in the fault-finder’s hearing, by readily speaking and listening to things against your neighbor; otherwise you will fall from divine charity [love] and be found a foreigner to eternal life.”

~St. Maximus the Confessor.

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Slander/Gossip

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.” ~ Proverbs 18:21

“A single good word made the thief pure and holy, despite all his previous crimes, and brought him into paradise (cf. Luke 23:42-43). A single ill-advised word prevented Moses from entering the promised land (cf. Num. 20:12). We should not suppose, then, that garrulity is only a minor disease. Lovers of slander and gossip shut themselves out of the kingdom of heaven.” St. John of Karpathos.

“Hence, I beseech you, let us not draw attention to our neighbors’ faults, should we learn about them from others, far from being anxious to see their nakedness, let us rather, like the right minded sons, conceal them, cover them up, strive to raise the fallen person by exhortation and advice, instructing him in the magnitude of God’s love, the extraordinary degree of His goodness, His boundless compassion, so that like them we may enjoy greater commendation from the God of all, Who wants ‘all to be saved and to come to the knowledge of truth,’ Who wants not so much ‘the death of a sinner as his conversion to life.’ ‘They did not see their father’s nakedness,’ the text says (Gen. 9:23). See how right from the very beginning they fulfilled these obligations from the law innate in their nature and thus anticipated their imposition in the law drafted for the instruction of the human race, as is legislated for in the words, ‘Honor your father and your mother, that it may be well with you.” ~ St. John Chrysostom

You cannot be too gentle, too kind. Shun even to appear harsh in your treatment of each other. Joy, radiant joy, streams from the face of him who gives and kindles joy in the heart of him who receives. All condemnation is from the devil. Never condemn each other… Instead of condemning others, strive to reach inner peace. Keep silent, refrain from judgment. This will raise you above the deadly arrows of slander, insult, and outrage and will shield your glowing hearts against all evil.” ~ St. Seraphim of Sarov

Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge. There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another? ~ James 4:11-12

A certain elder, who was asked by the brothers what condemnation is and what it means to speak ill of another, gave the following explanation: ”In the case of speaking ill of someone, one reveals the hidden faults of his brother. In the case of condemnation, one censures something obvious. On the one hand, if someone were to say, for example, that such-and-such a brother is well-intentioned and kind, but lacks discretion, this would be to speak ill of him. If, however one were to say that so-and-so is greedy and miserly, this is condemnation, for in this way he censures his neighbor’s deeds. Condemnation is worse than speaking ill of another.” ~ From the Desert Fathers

Do not regard the feelings of a person who speaks to you about his neighbor disparagingly, but rather say to him: “Stop, brother! I fall into graver sins every day, so how can I criticize him?” In this way you will achieve two things: you will heal yourself and your neighbor with one plaster. This is one of the shortest ways to the forgiveness of sins; I mean, not to judge. ‘Judge not, and ye shall not be judged.’ (Luke 6:37)” ~ St. John Climacus