John T. Willis

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Slander: This is a Heart Issue

A major tactic is for individuals and groups of people to slander other people with whom they differ, whom they fear, who threaten their precious turf, who wish to destroy their reputation or character, who seek to belittle them and build themselves above them. Slander is a self-centered tactic, not a God-motivated feeling or activity. Webster's Dictionary defines "slander" as "Defamation, oral or written; specifically Law, a false report maliciously offered and, tending to injure the reputation of another." Slander is very closely connected to gossip. 1. In the public media, it is very common to use slander against another person. It is extremely difficult to believe much of what the media says orally or in written form. Many people are very gullible to accept anything and everything the media says. Who knows what is true or what is false? There is little real integrity in the media. 2. Unfortunately, Churches of Christ have a long history of slander, which is a blight on this denomination. This can be documented easily. But this is true of all denominations. Each new generation quickly picks up on the hypocrisy of every church. This is a human heart problem. Slander is not limited to any person or agency or nation or church. The devil is alive and well. 3. This is not surprising because Jesus' own people slandered him often and finally put him on the cross. They made many accusations against Jesus because they disapproved of his teachings and his nature. Text after text after text in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John remind the audience that this group or that group was seeking to find a way to arrest and crucify Jesus. Just a handful of texts are Matthew 12:14; 13:57; 21:45-46; Mark 14:1-2, 43-65; Luke 11:53-54; 19:47; 22:1-6, 47-53; John 9:22, 24, 34; 11:45-57. 4. Jesus taught: "Out of the HEART come evil intentions, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, SLANDER. These are what defile a person." (Matthew 15:18-19). 5. Paul specifically lists gossip and slander among the sins of human life. Romans 1:28-32, specifically Romans 1:29-30. 6. In God's Law at Mount Sinai, Leviticus 19:16 says: "You shall not go around as a slanderer among your people." Proverbs 6:16-19 enumerates seven sins which Yahweh HATES or ABHORS. One of these is: "a lying witness who testifies falsely." (Proverbs 6:19). 7. Proverbs 26:20-22 says: "For lack of wood the fire goes out, and where there is no WHISPERER, quarreling ceases. As charcoal is to hot embers and wood to fire, so is a quarrelsome person for kindling fire. The words of a WHISPERER are like delicious morsels, they go down into the inner parts of the body." 8. When other people slander an individual or a church, the ONLY proper response is (1) to refuse to respond in any way, because the slanderer will twist any response to make things worse; and (2) give God time, because God has powerful ways to expose and punish slanderers. Numbers 32:23 is a great reminder: "BE SURE YOUR SIN WILL FIND YOU OUT." 9. Jesus' great assurance in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5:11-12 is: "Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you." Let us all pray for slanderers and groups of slanderers. They are a lowly spiritual tribe. God always rebukes and punishes these people in amazing ways. Share YOUR experiences and insights and aspirations and shortcomings and guilt with others. Let me hear from YOU. John Willis


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