My husband and I were having dinner with neighbours recently and the term, “casting dispersions” was used in the conversation. I had never heard the term before and this led to a google search, followed by a hearty discussion about the meaning and origin of the words.
Apparently, the correct term is “casting aspersions.”
We all sat quietly and “heard” someone enlighten us with with a rather lengthy explanation. Originally, aspersion was the action of sprinkling somebody with something like water – it was commonly used in Christian baptism. The word came from slightly older verbs, “asperse” and “asperge,” both of which can be traced back to the Latin word, “aspergere,” which means to sprinkle.” Around the middle of the seventeenth century, aspersion began to refer to the figurative idea that a person was sprinkling his neighbourhood with damaging imputations, false statement or spiteful remarks.
Fascinating information but to be honest, I don’t think too many of us were actually listening. At the end of the teaching session, it became awkwardly quiet around the table, when out of the blue, my husband piped up with, “Personally, I’d rather be casting for sturgeon.”
His profound, timely and humorous insight cracked through the silence of the moment and ended the highly intellectual lecture on “casting aspersions”…
…but I got to thinking about how easy it to do this – to cast aspersions on others. It comes from deep within, where damaging and on-going judgments are made in the blink of an eye.
Wayne Dyer said, “when you judge others, you don’t define them – you define yourself” and I do believe there is some truth in that statement. It says something about our own souls when we judge someone just because they sin differently than we do. The truth is that we have ALL sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. (Romans 3.23) We are ALL guilty of using our time to judge, rather than to love others. Sin comes naturally, love takes work, doesn’t it?
We cast aspersions on other peoples’ behavior and outward appearance without a second’s thought but the focus needs to be on taking responsibility for what we choose to see.
Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ” Let me take the speck out of your eye,” when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. Matthew 7. 1-5 ESV