Some of you may not consider denigration, defamation and slander as a form of art, but there is a certain art style in casting disparaging remarks. Let’s talk specifically about the art of character assassination.
As we approach our U.S. midterm elections, such antics/tactics sadly often rear their ugly head.
In one of our local election campaigns, only recently have I heard why I should vote for a certain candidate. Early on, all I heard is why I should not vote for his opponent. I’d much rather hear why this person deserves my vote rather than why his opponent does not.
There was a time when I actually considered using my gift with words to assist a few local political candidates in their election efforts. What I would never consider doing is casting aspersions on any candidate.
Let me share the words of King David found in Psalm 5:9-10: “Not a word from their mouth can be trusted; their heart is filled with destruction. Their throat is an open grave, with their tongue they speak deceit. Declare them guilty, O God! Let their intrigues be their downfall. Banish them from their many sins, for they have rebelled against you.”
In my opinion, King David took a proper approach to his adversaries in taking the issue to God rather than taking things into his own hands.
Then, only a few chapters later, we witness Absalom, one of David’s sons, artfully doing all he possibly could to create an insurrection, a rebellion to overthrow his father in King David’s later years. Sadly, Absalom’s ambition led to his demise, but interestingly not at the hands of his father.
In a similar fashion, the news media have aggressively attacked those with conservative views and values in recent years, and some have, unfortunately, retaliated in return. Perhaps the best approach would be to simply state one’s position in love and realize that those with opposing views are not our enemy.
There’s so much misinformation being promulgated and so much misunderstanding that we simply need to find common ground and stop all this bickering. My personal strategy requires daily prayer and standing firm on principles I know are right — knowing that God’s Truth will eventually win out over the evil all around us.
In the Book of James, Jesus’ half-brother who oversaw the Christian fellowship in Jerusalem before his premature death, speaks prolifically on the wickedness of the tongue. James 1:26 reads “If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless.”
As a child, one of my favorite Disney movies of all times was Bambi. One of the lessons learned from that movie was a comment made by Thumper, Bambi’s rabbit friend. Thumper authoritatively shares with his friends his mother’s sage advice. As I recall the scene, the advice goes like this: “If you don’t have anything good to say about someone, don’t say anything at all!”
In the Family of God, we have a responsibility to present the truth and not cast aspersions in any manner. Christ Jesus demonstrated the perfect example and we would be wise to not simply follow His example, but also do all we can to keep others from practicing the art of character assassination.
Passages to Ponder
— Jim Langley has been writing for more than 30 years while working as a life and health insurance agent in Santa Barbara. In recent years, his passion has turned to writing about his personal relationship with God, and his goal is to encourage others to draw near to Him as well. As a longtime member of CBMC of Santa Barbara (Christian Business Men’s Connection), he started writing Fourth Quarter Strategies columns in 2014, and he now reaches an international audience through the CBMC International devotional Monday Manna. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.