What does it mean to not speak ill of any man, as it is instructed in Titus 3:2?
It’s important for Christians to be reminded of the proper way to treat one another and interact with the world around them. “Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good task, to speak bad of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be kind, and to exhibit perfect respect toward all people,” Paul advises Titus to remind the Cretan Christians (Titus 3:1–2, ESV).
These are admirable goals, but does that mean we must never criticize anyone? Given Paul’s exhortation to the Ephesians to “put away from you, with all malice,” it would appear to be the case (Ephesians 4:31, NKJV). Additionally, Peter exhorts Christians to rid themselves of “all malice, every deceit, hypocrisy, jealousy, and all bad saying” (1 Peter 2:1, NKJV).
Let’s look at what the Bible says about this. Paul’s command to “speak evil of no man” appears in the King James Version, although other translations read “slander no one” and “they must not slander anyone” (NLT). The Greek word blaspheme, from which we obtain the English verb blaspheme, is translated as “say evil” in Titus 3:2. To “say evil of no one” is, in the clearest terms, to “do no charge unjustly or talk against someone with malicious purpose; do not harm someone’s good character and reputation.” Knowing this, we must refrain from speaking ill of any other person.
The Bible views slander as a serious sin. “Do not go about spreading slander among your people,” warns the Lord in Leviticus 19:16. Insulting and abusive language, defamatory comments, rumor spreading, and “false testimony against your neighbor in a court of law” all fall under the umbrella term of “slander” (Exodus 20:16; cf. Deuteronomy 5:20).
A slanderer’s actions are those typically associated with the world’s lost and unregenerate population (Proverbs 11:9; 17:4; Romans 1:29–31; 1 Peter 2:12; 3:16). Do not speak ill of one another, dear brothers and sisters, as you have been commanded by James. By pointing fingers and passing judgment at one another, you are really pointing fingers and passing judgment at God’s rule. However, it is not your responsibility to determine whether or not a law applies to you. Justification comes from God alone, because He is the Author of Law. He alone can bring forth either salvation or destruction. And what gives you the authority to pass judgment on your neighbor anyway? James 4:11–12 (New Living Translation).
Slander is one of the crimes that Jesus says defiles a person because it comes from the evil they harbor inside (Mark 7:21–23; Matthew 15:19–20). It’s common for people to say hurtful things about others when they’re harboring resentment (Psalm 41:7; 109:3). It’s an attempt to better oneself by diminishing another (see 1 Timothy 6:4; 2 Corinthians 12:20). The Old and New Testaments both condemn spreading false accusations against others (Exodus 23:1; Proverbs 3:30; 30:10; Colossians 3:8). The teacher cites seven things God despises in Proverbs 6:16-19, and “a false witness who pours out lies” is one of them. That the Lord hates slander should come as no surprise since flinging false charges is characteristic of the devil, “the father of lies” (John 8:44) and “the accuser of our brothers and sisters” (Revelation 12:10). (Revelation 12:10).
Scripture provides strong arguments against badmouthing others. Involvement in slander and gossip causes estrangement among friends (Proverbs 16:28; 17:9), physical harm (Proverbs 18:8; 26:22), discord within families (Proverbs 6:19), and even murder (Proverbs 6:20). (Ezekiel 22:9). The apostle Peter reassures Christians that the Bible truly does guarantee that we will “enjoy life and see many joyful days” if we refrain from using harmful words (1 Peter 3:10).
James says that the tongue is one of the hardest parts of the body to control because it can cause so much harm. It’s “a fire, a realm of evil among the body’s parts,” he says. It corrodes the body as a whole, sets one’s life on fire, and is consumed by the flames of hell. Although humans have domesticated a wide variety of land animals, flying species, and marine life, the tongue remains unruly. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison” (James 3:6–8). (James 3:6–8). Those who think they are religious but don’t control their tongues are fooling themselves, James says, and their faith is useless (James 1:26). The Lord Jesus Christ Himself said, “I tell you that on the day of judgment people will have to account for every careless word they speak” (Matthew 12:36, HCSB). It’s understandable that we require constant reminders to watch our language.
Yes, we really ought not talk bad of no man, considering the seriousness of slander and its capacity to bring devastation on us and devastate the lives of others.