A Study in Slander
“I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to have the preeminence among them, does not receive us. Therefore, if I come, I will call to mind his deeds which he does, prating against us with malicious words. And not content with that, he himself does not receive the brethren, and forbids those who wish to, putting them out of the church.” ()
Slander - false, malicious talk about others; it harms those against whom it is directed, but also brings ruin to those who engage in it.
Where is slander within this list? Evil thoughts, wickedness, deceit, pride, and foolishness are components of slander.
How does slander defile a man? It comes from within. It is part of our corrupt old nature.
““Everyone take heed to his neighbor, And do not trust any brother; For every brother will utterly supplant, And every neighbor will walk with slanderers. Everyone will deceive his neighbor, And will not speak the truth; They have taught their tongue to speak lies; They weary themselves to commit iniquity. Your dwelling place is in the midst of deceit; Through deceit they refuse to know Me,” says the Lord.” ()
Jeremiah was known as the weeping prophet. Why was he called this? It seems part of his grief was caused by the people he warned. Those warnings were unheeded. The people proceeded from evil to evil. They wearied themselves to commit iniquity.
Ezekiel prophesied against Jerusalem at what he called the end of her years. She had become a reproach and a mockery to all countries. The city was marked by murder, intrigue, dishonor of parents, the oppression of strangers, mistreatment of widows and orphans, and the dishonor of God Himself. Also,
“In [Jerusalem] are men who slander to cause bloodshed” ()
There are over 20 evil characteristics listed in . These characteristics belong to those who are given up by God ...those who exchange the truth of God for the lie. Slander is in this list. Paul calls it backbiting. It is a mark of fallen man, but it works its way into the church as well. Paul warned the church at Corinth:
“For I fear lest, when I come, I shall not find you such as I wish, and that I shall be found by you such as you do not wish; lest there be contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, backbitings, whisperings, conceits, tumults.” ()
Among the final words Paul communicated to Timothy is teaching on what would characterize the last days in which we live:
“For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,” ()
“An ungodly man digs up evil, and it is on his lips like a burning fire.” ()
Put the verse above in your own words.
“The hypocrite with his mouth destroys his neighbor, But through knowledge the righteous will be delivered.” ()
A hypocrite is a pretender. The goal of slander is destruction.
Let's finish with four ways in which we can deal with slander:
“In my distress I cried to the Lord, And He heard me. Deliver my soul, O Lord, from lying lips And from a deceitful tongue.” ()
How does the psalmist deal with it? The first way you deal with slander is to ask God to deliver you from it.
“Having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation.” ()
How would you articulate the second way of dealing with slander in ? Maintain your own integrity so that any charge of slander is baseless.
“Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” ()
What does Jesus say we should do in the face of slander? We should rejoice and be exceedingly glad. We're in good company.
It is beneath godly men to listen to slander. David pointed this out to Saul.
“And David said to Saul: “Why do you listen to the words of men who say, ‘Indeed David seeks your harm’?” ()
So, the four ways to deal with slander are:
Commit your cause to God.
Maintain your own integrity.
Rejoice in the Lord.
Don't listen to it.
Remember that the slanderer, backbiter, and deceiver has part in the lake of fire which burns forever. We must not partake in a sin that carries many away into everlasting torment and punishment.