The visionary Shepherd of Hermas was a very influential book in early Christian times. Here the writer is commanded to keep away from slander. Even listening to malicious gossip makes you part of the sin.
Be simple and guileless, and you will be like children who don’t know the wickedness that ruins man’s life.
First, do not speak evil of anyone, and do not listen with pleasure to anyone who speaks evil of another.
If you do listen, you will share in the sin of the one who speaks evil, if you believe the slander you hear. For if you believe it, you will also have something to say against your brother. Thus you will be guilty of the sin of the slanderer.
For slander is evil, and an unsteady demon. It never stays in one place, but is always in strife. Keep away from it, and you will always be at peace with everyone.
–Hermas, Commandment 2
Do I stay away from malicious gossip? Or am I too willing to believe bad things I hear about people?
Father, you gave me an example of unselfish love in the suffering of your Son, who endured insult without complaint. Let me follow his example and share in his Resurrection.
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