During Aaron Burr’s long life, he tasted the cup of honor and distinction, and also drained the dregs of bitterness and humiliation.
As he lay dying, a friend who was waiting upon him reported some rumor, and began, “They say.”
Burr interrupted her, and said, “My dear, never use that phrase. It has broken more hearts than any other.” 1
Speaking of those given to slander and gossip, David wrote, “They sharpen their tongues like a serpent! The poison of asps is under their lips. Selah” (Psalm 140:3). Some have declared that no creature’s tongue moves faster than a serpent’s. They’re sometimes called “treble-tongued,” because their tongues move so fast that they actually look like three tongues at once.
Chuck Swindoll added, “The only muscle you need to break down another person’s dignity is the muscle hidden inside your mouth. You can destroy a life with your tongue.” 2
Slander and gossip have been described as a “sharp knife veiled in simulated friendship to cut with criticism.”3
At the close of a talkative Ladies Aid session at which the ladies had over-indulged in gossiping comments about various members of the community, a young woman, who attended for the first time, proceeded to call the group the “Ladies Raid Society!” 4
“Good name in man or woman
Is the immediate jewel of their souls.
Who steals my purse steals trash –
But he that filches from me my good name,
Robs me of that which not enriches him,
And makes me poor indeed.” 5
© 2016 D & L Publications, All rights reserved
- Morris Mandel, A Complete Treasury of Stories for Public Speakers, Jonathan David Publishers, Middle Village, NY, 11379, Copyright 1974, p. 190
- Chuck Swindoll, Three Steps Forward, Two Steps Back, Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, TN, Copyright 1980, p. 32
- Norman Vincent Peale, You Can Win, Garden City Books, Garden City, NY, Copyright 1938, p. 52
- Walter B. Knight, Knight’s Master Book of New Illustrations, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, MI, Copyright 1956, p. 692
- Adult Teacher Supplement, Second Quarter, 1966, Gospel Publishing House, Springfield, MO, Copyright 1966, p. 37