We read about “character assassination” in the newspaper, and see it often on the Internet and on the evening news, but what is it, really? Webster’s defines the term as “the slandering of a person usually with the intention of destroying public confidence in that person.”
You’ve seen hundreds of examples played out in the media in recent years, maybe in your own office or even within your church family. Countless books are written solely for the purpose of destroying someone’s reputation and the best examples are found in the Bible; yes the Bible! Didn’t the Pharisees try to destroy Jesus first by attacking His character? They tried to undermine him multiple times. When words failed, they resorted to crucifying Jesus: the ultimate assassination. We may not commit the physical act of murder, but many times we stop just short by spreading half or mistruths about someone, with the goal of discrediting them so they are no longer seen in a favorable light. They become tarnished, sometimes forever.
God can see through what the human heart cannot. We continue our assassination attempts on God’s character by sinning against Him. Then we turn our efforts on each other, moving someone to the side if they dare challenge us or stand in our way too long.
As we continue to observe Lent in the days leading up to our Savior’s death and resurrection, let’s be leery of others, or even ourself, when we try to undermine others by making unflattering remarks or spreading gossip, even if the words are true. Matthew tells us in his gospel (12:36-37, ESV), “ … I tell you, on the day of judgment, people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”
Christ asks us to fix our hearts and minds on Him so our thoughts and actions are pure. The Pharisees assassinated Jesus first with their words. Don’t be a party to spreading idle talk about another, or standing by in silent consent. We have clear guidance in Proverbs 26:20 (ESV)-“For lack of wood the fire goes out, and where there is no whisperer, quarreling ceases.”