Evil speaking, or slander, is a very great evil and does an immense amount of
harm. It is not necessary to say what is false in order to slander a comrade.
Saying something about him in his absence, whether it be true or false, calculated to lower him in the estimation of others, can damage his influence with them.
Evil speaking does a very great deal of harm. To begin with it hurts the individual guilty of the act. We are so made that when we cherish a kind feeling, or do a loving action, we are benefitted thereby. On the other hand, we cannot indulge in bad feelings toward anyone, or perform any unlovable actions, without suffering ourselves in consequence. So that when a man slanders his neighbor, he injures himself as well. Bear that in mind; you cannot speak evil of anyone without having to suffer in your own soul.
Evil speaking grieves the Spirit of God, because it is contrary to the law of love. You are to love your neighbor as yourself. That is the standard of your love for your neighbor. But Christ said we are to love our comrades as He loved us, and He loved us better than He loved Himself. Now, if you love your comrades after Jesus Christ’s pattern, you won’t go about setting forth their faults and shortcomings to anybody who will listen to you.
Evil speaking hurts the feelings of the comrade slandered. It does, if ever he hears the story, and if he never hears about it, it is worse still because he never has a chance of defending himself.
By all that is sacred, my dear comrade, let us make a covenant with our tongues that we will not speak evil of any comrade, no, not even if we think that they have wronged us. Let us remember the example of our Lord, who prayed for the men who were gambling at His feet for His garments while their hands were clotted with His blood. Let us love one another.
William Booth, The Warrior’s Daily Portion