Maxim Monday: Despise a Slanderer

Slander is making false accusations and statements about someone, usually with the intent to cause damage (libel is doing so in print). The intensity of the word ‘despise’ brings to my mind the idea of shunning a person from one’s life and social circle. In our fragmented and increasingly online society being shunned may bring about no immediate consequences, I believe most Pagans hold honor and integrity – one’s reputation – as a central personal value. A positive reputation doesn’t mean that everyone likes you, but that people respect you. Being shunned from positive reputation can have far reaching repercussions, even if Pagans are not in immediate community with one another.

Not only is slander lying, it is almost always deliberate and destructive lying. A person may be vying for power or influence in some capacity, but slander is never the way forward. Distorting the truth, or even playing up another person’s faults while downplaying one’s own part in the matter, is another way that slander weasels out. We can try to justify the remarks, saying that things were ‘mostly’ true or were ‘just my experience’ or ‘I’m just saying…..’ but when a person begins to tear some one else down a very careful pause must take place. How close to the slander line are you dancing?

“The Accusation of Susanna” George Romney, 1776. Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

In my experience, I have found that the truth will always out. A slanderer will be revealed and their own honor will be compromised. The difficult part is when slander is mixed with partial truths. I have found it is always better to own up to one’s mistakes and part in any misunderstanding or wrong-doing. Do not let faults fester, making room for slander to worm in.

Most of us never have to deal with slander. If a person is tearing down another, likely that person is feeling threatened. The one being slandered must be doing something right! If haters are gonna hate, my suspicion is that your work is causing change, your life holds influence, and those are good things!

I strongly agree with this maxim. As communities I hope we will all despise slanderers and make no room for such falsehoods to prevail. If you suspect slander of occurring, talk to the parties involved. Do your part to find out the truth. If you need to speak some harsh truths, make sure your facts are correct and your intentions are clear. Our already small communities can be torn apart by false accusations. With slander no one wins.

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