Sunday, November 05, 2006

Detraction (a timely reminder)

Crossed the Tiber has a great and timely reminder on the sin of Detraction.

With everything on the news and blogs lately, it becomes easy to participate in the sin of Detraction without giving it much thought. I am ashamed to admit that this is one area of sin that continues to trip me up. As Christians, we overcome the "big sins" easily but these so called" little sins" seem to go unnoticed and at times are not so little. I think gossip becomes a sin that is justified by many Christians because we "share" information about another with the intention of "praying for them." This may be worse since it is using spirituosity to mask our sin! Yes , I have done this as a "concerned brother in the Lord."

Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. It's contagious, it's affirming (in a twisted way) to denounce our adversaries. If were to silence all Detraction, and it's next-door neighbor, Calumny, the world would be a much quieter place. For example, this week, John Kerry felt entitled to fling some calumny/detraction towards the President, only it ended up hitting the military instead. The ensuing ruckus of calumny and detraction, in response to Kerry's comments, was similarly untoward. Myself included. C'est la guerre.

2 comments:

Paul, just this guy, you know? said...

Must we, then, be silent when the murder of unborn innocents is called variously noble-sounding titles such as "the right of a woman to choose" or "heathcare" or "science"?

Must we not speak out when the hierarchy of our church publically departs from the teachings of our faith?

Was John the Baptist guilty of this sin of detraction when he faulted Herod for sleeping with his brother's wife?

Theo said...

If I understand Tiber Jumper correctly, one must distinguish between exposing evil merely for the sake of exposing it and exposing evil in order to combat it.

To cite a biblical example, recall that after Noah passed out naked in his tent, the son who discovered him and simply reported his father's nakedness to his brothers was condemned. The sons who entered and without looking, covered their father's nakedness were praised.

Which truly cared about their father's condition?

This is not to say that we should hide evil and enable evil-doers to continue. Often it is impossible to address an evil without also exposing the agency of that evil--especially when that agent is apt to continue in evil otherwise. However, if we take joy in such exposure and correction (not for righteousness’ sake, but for personal affirmation of one's relative goodness or to take joy in another's punishment), then we do not please God: for though the wages of sin are death, God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked.

Humbly submitted,
your Brother in christ,
--Theo