I reread the post a third time. I simply couldn’t believe the blatant and very public accusations that my Christian friend was making…accusations based fully in pride and emotion and without any proof…accusations that could very well damage and destroy. Yet, this person felt fully justified by God in making them, even using Scripture to validate themselves.
There are a few things that the Bible says specifically that God hates (Prov. 6:16-19). Pride is one of them, but did you know that slander is too? Proverbs 10:18 says that the one who spreads slander is a fool. Psalm 101:5 says that God will destroy the one who slanders his neighbor. We tend to minimize the sin of slander, but God doesn’t.
Stands to reason that if God hates slander, we should too, and stay as far away from it as possible. To do that, we need to be able to recognize it quickly.
Slander is defined as any false statement made or shared that has the potential to damage a person’s reputation in someone else’s eyes.
Let’s talk about a few real life examples.
Tabloids. Often times, these publications are taking a real life situation and adding their own twist to make it more “interesting”. Slander sells.
Politics. We often see slander thrown back and forth by political opponents whose winning strategy is to destroy the other person’s reputation. As a matter of fact, if we haven’t participated in political slander, we probably at least believe some of it.
Trial by popular opinion. We make up our minds these days, almost as soon as a crime takes place, about what exactly happened and even what the motive was. This is dangerous. We don’t care about the people involved in the actual real life events, we just want our agenda furthered.
Social posts and comments. It doesn’t take much to find slander in the public square. Just go check out the comments under any newsworthy story.
False prophet accusations. I’ve never in my life seen more people publicly accusing and being accused of being false prophets and teachers. I’m not saying that these wolves in sheep clothing don’t exist, but man, do people flippantly point fingers these days.
Prayer Requests. Ever heard someone ask for prayer on behalf of sharing someone else’s intimate secrets only to find out later that what they shared was completely out of context?
Slander is no respecter of people or environment. I’ve watched people with the best reputations be muddied by it. It doesn’t even have to be totally believed. If it can only cast a cloud of doubt around someone, it has done its job.
Y‘all. This isn’t pleasing the Lord. As a matter of fact, slander is one of those sins that mobilizes God against us. He’s a defender of the one being sinned against. He is on the side of the person being slandered. So why do Christians do it?
Jealousy. We can be an insecure bunch…always worrying that we are replaceable and someone is gaining more favor or attention than us. Sometimes we slander to make ourselves feel better or superior.
Disagreement. Sometimes we are on the opposite side of an issue(s) and it irritates us that another person doesn’t agree with us. We slander to prove our own point is the right one.
Pride. We simply think we are a better person than someone else and need to ”out” them in the name of truth. Or we feel like it’s on us to warn everyone else of the dangers of someone because we’re the only one who could possibly see through their facade.
Revenge. Someone has hurt us and we aren’t going to take it. We don’t have to lie outright to get them back. We can just plant seeds of doubt about their character. We can exploit their weaknesses to our advantage.
Impulsivity. Some of us simply have no self control. We say whatever we think. We believe whatever we hear and share it. We put our reactions and responses out there in the name of “standing for what’s right”, and gosh is it easy for us to accidentally slander.
I doubt anyone reading this would raise their hand and say “Me. It’s me. I slander.” But how many of us entertain slander? We roll the juicy story around in our head and hope that it’s true because we really don’t like the person. We share under the guise of full disclosure “I really don’t know if this is true, but I heard…”
How many of you have a story of being slandered? A story about defending your reputation because someone twisted your words or actions into something they weren’t? A story about spending time and effort and energy to combat slander? It hurts, doesn’t it? It’s ugly, isn’t it? And God hates it.
So what can we do to resist this evil in an age where everyone is doing it?
Mind your own business (I Thess 4:11-12). I don’t know about you, but I have so much work to do on my own inner life that I’m just deflecting if I’m worrying about someone else’s. We don’t need to form an opinion about everyone else’s life.
If you can’t be kind, be quiet (Eph 4:29-32). The world is filled with political correctness masquerading as kindness. This kindness is only directed toward those who stay politically correct. All others are open season for things like hatred, gossip, and slander. We need authentic kindness more than ever.
Speak out with names, ONLY if God calls you (I Chron 16:22; Tit 3:1-5). Take a stand and call specific people out on their sin, but only if you are sure you are speaking truth…and ONLY when you’ve confirmed God has told you to do it. This will involve all kinds of fear and trembling. If you can easily expose someone, it’s coming from your flesh.
Resist the urge to say anything about anyone you aren’t sure is true (Eccl 10:20). Even to your closest friends or family. Once it’s out there in “wonder land”, it has the potential to hurt someone.
Slander is one of those dangerous sins that we can easily excuse until it invades every corner of our heart and makes us rancid. I’m calling it out this morning and stopping it in its tracks.