Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. –Ephesians 4:29
Several years ago I had a conversation with a lady who lives in the community and I asked her about the church she attended. “I no longer go to church there.” She told me. When I asked her why not, she said that she didn’t like the pastor. She then went on to make some unkind remarks about the pastor as well as some characterizations which I knew were untrue. The irony was that this pastor is a friend of mine; a fact I revealed to the woman. She then apologized and said that she didn’t realize that he and I were friends. After I walked away I began to think about how that I wasn’t the one she should have apologized to. The better course would have been an apology to the one she had been slandering.
The Bible teaches that as followers of Christ we are to be about the work of encouraging one another rather tearing each other down. When our focus is upon the Lord Jesus Christ we will be empowered to speak words that lift up and inspire. Words that attack the character of another person have a negative effect on everyone involved; the speaker, anyone listening, and the one being attacked. Such talk can cause great damage within the body of Christ spreading disunity and strife.
The next time we find ourselves in a situation where someone is being slandered, resolved not to join in or listen. A better approach would be to change the subject, suggest that you both pray for the one being spoken of, or remind them of the unfairness of such talk since the one being attacked is not present to defend himself. Let us be about the work of lifting up Christ rather than tearing one another down. When we are exalting Jesus there is no time for speaking unkind words about others.
The love of Christ will win out every time. Praise His name, exalt Him in prayer, and speak that which edifies and encourages others.