How does the godly man handle slander and gossip? Psalm 101:5 says this, “Whoever secretly slanders his neighbor, him will I destroy.” The word “destroy” here is a little unfortunate in its translation. What is being destroyed in the Hebrew is the actual slander of gossip. The word means to silence someone. Therefore the godly man, when hearing slander of someone or gossip about them silences the speaker from going on about the situation.
I remember a very godly man who taught me about slander and gossip saying that when he began to hear one brother speak against another—or share an offence, he would listen for a few moments until he could speak. He did this out of respect for the person speaking to him. Then he would say something like this, “I know that this hurt you or was offensive, but biblically you should not be sharing this with me. You should be meeting with him—sharing it with him—and seeking to either reconcile the situation or offer rebuke if he is clearly sinning.” After saying this he would offer to get the two men together and help them work out their problems. If the brother would continue to try to tell him more about the offence at that point he would again politely, yet firmly say that he was not the one needing to hear this. He would reiterate the biblical truth he did before while adding that he did not want to hear any more unless it was in the other party in the offence. What he was doing was silencing the slander and gossip. But he was doing much more. He was offering an opportunity for reconciliation and healing to take place. He was healing a breach that had happened in the body of Christ—and was grieving the Holy Spirit. These are the actions of a godly man who has made the commitment, “I will know no evil.” May God help each of us to be such a man.