I’ve faced my fair share of slander from the accuser of the brethren. Sometimes it comes through religious spirits that type 50 words per minute and rip off an email without considering the spirit in which they’re written. Other times it comes through atheists or radical gay activists who mock and condemn me for voicing God’s Word.
Still other times it can come from who you let get close to you that have believed the enemy’s lie.
Of course, it’s no coincidence that the slander always makes its way back to your ears. The accuser of the brethren knows that folks—yes, even Christian folks—can’t resist the temptation to gossip, despite the fact that the Bible says a perverse man sows strife (Prov. 16:28); despite the fact that death and life are in the power of the tongue (Prov. 18:21); and despite the fact that God warns us not to circulate a false report (Ex. 23:1). Many can’t resist the temptation to gossip—especially when slander is involved.
Slander is not pretty. It means “to defame someone; to harm their reputation; to disgrace; or to accuse.” Slander is a tool of the accuser of the brethren (Rev. 12:10). Consider this: the word slanderer in 1 Timothy 3:11 is the same word for “devil.” When we slander someone, we are acting like devils. We are mirroring the character of Satan. We can’t walk in the anointing God has for us and mirror the character of Satan at the same time. We just can’t.
But what if you are the one being slandered?
How to Respond to Slander
How you respond to mistreatment is one of the most important aspects of your spiritual life. When we respond the right way, we climb higher—or go deeper—in the Spirit. When we respond the wrong way, we get bitter. Over time, that bitterness will defile our spirits and dull our ability to sense the presence of God or hear His voice. Bitterness is deadly—and it’s easy for the people around you to discern. Where true humility lives, though, bitterness can’t take up residence. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
As I said, I’ve endured plenty of mistreatment during my life, and I can honestly say that I count it a blessing. By God’s grace, I’ve always managed to ultimately respond in meekness rather than retaliating against the poor soul manifesting the character of slanderous Satan. And I pray that God’s grace will continue to pour over me as the slander from religious spirits, atheists, radical gay activists and, occasionally, even those who I let get close to me who have believed the enemy’s lie continues.
No one likes to be slandered. I don’t enjoy it. It makes me sorrow for the one who’s committing the sin. The Bible says, “Whoever secretly slanders his neighbor, Him I will destroy” (Ps. 101:5, NKJV). And Romans 1:30-32 suggests backbiters are worthy of death. Paul told us not to keep company with a believer who has “a foul tongue [railing, abusing, reviling, slandering]” (1 Cor. 5:11, AMP)—Scripture actually lists the slanderer among the sexually immoral, the covetous, idolaters, drunkards and extortioners. The point is, God hates slander.
Understanding how seriously God takes slander has had a twofold impact on my heart. First, I don’t want any part of slander. I don’t want to engage in it, and I won’t listen to anyone else engaging in it. If someone comes to me with slander on their lips, I put out the fire and bring gentle correction to help them avoid Satan’s snare. Second, when I see the damage the slanderer is doing to himself by attacking me, I take pity on him. While they think their words are digging a pit for me, they are actually the ones who are bound to fall headlong into the hole.
Transferring Your Personal Rights
I’ve learned over the years to transfer my personal rights to God, knowing He will vindicate me amid the slander—or any other mistreatment. And He has confirmed me time and time again in the presence of my enemies when I give Him the reigns. As Paul wrote, “For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Cor. 6:20, NKJV). I’ve committed my spirit into the Lord’s hands, and, in return, He takes responsibility for my protection, provision and vindication when necessary.
I don’t want to be like the accuser of the brethren. And I don’t want to swap insult for insult (1 Pet. 3:9). I want to be like Jesus, “who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously” (1 Pet. 2:23). God is the judge. He will make the wrong things right in His way and in His timing. Vengeance is His. He will repay (Rom. 12:19). I won’t be overcome with evil, but I will overcome evil with good (v. 21). I will rejoice when I am persecuted because I know that when I respond the right way, I am blessed. My first response is to pray for those who persecute me. And pray. And pray. And pray some more. It keeps my heart clean.
I’ve found it true, looking back over the many instances where I’ve been mistreated, abandoned, robbed, persecuted, falsely accused and otherwise slandered that the initial sting of the mistreatment fades more quickly when you walk in love, speak the truth in love without being defensive, and refuse to retaliate. I’ve also found it true that God repays, vindicates and takes vengeance on my behalf. If you respond with meekness in the face of mistreatment, you can have the same testimony. Amen.
Jennifer LeClaire is news editor at Charisma. She is also the author of several books, including The Spiritual Warrior’s Guide to Defeating Jezebel. You can email Jennifer at [email protected] or visit her website here. You can also join Jennifer on Facebook or follow her on Twitter.