Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Slander and Estrangment

slander |ˈslandər
noun the action or crime of making a false spoken statement damaging to a person's reputation;a false and malicious spoken statement.verb [ with obj. ] make false and damaging statements about (someone): they were accused of slandering the head of state.
If you've even experienced slander (false accusation) you're not alone. It is painful and sad. But an important thing to remember is that the slanderer is the sad one. If American court systems take issue with libel and slander, what must God think of it.

It's not surprising when someone outside of faith might slander others, but when it's someone within the church, it is disturbing indeed.
If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain. James 1:25
What you do and say and how you live, speaks of whom you obey. The life of a Christian is carried out through the evidence of faith.  Faith is believing that God is to be feared and obeyed above all else and that He is a rewarder of them who diligently seek him. Faith without obedience (good works in Christ) is dead.
James 2:26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
So when a professing Christian's "works" (their words, actions, behaviors) are "worldly" their faith, according to the bible, is phony.
Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. Phillipians 2:12
Salvation is by grace, but it is evidence or "worked out" by walking in holiness and walking obediently to God no matter what others are doing around you. Anyone not walking in obedience to God needs to examine themselves to see if they are in the faith. (2 Corinthians 13:5)

The word too often heard from pulpits is that after you say a little prayer, you're all set.  But the Bible says - in a myriad of ways - that we are to examine our faith to make sure it is true. A little prayer spoken in sincerity of heart can result in salvation. But there are a lot of unsaved Christians walking around cheating on God, walking in the flesh, loving the world all while trusting in their Pastor's assurance that they are saved. That is like building their house on the sand.

One way to inspect your faith is how you deal with hurts and injustices.  What does the Lord Jesus Christ say we are to do when we are falsely accused and someone slanders us?
But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you. Matthew 5:44
What ARE you when you're persecuted? 

Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.

What should you DO? 

Rejoice, and be exceeding glad:for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you. Matthew 5:11

You read that right - rejoice when you're persecuted! It's backwards to our natural way of thinking. When you are able to do this - rejoice when you're persecuted - it's the Lord's strength that is making it possible.

Human instinct is to fight back or get revenge when you're wronged. While speaking the truth is certainly a viable option, there is a time and season for it. If it increases discord or fury, it might be wise to back off.  Proverbs says "a word fitly spoken is like apples of gold." But Ecclesiastes says there is "a time to keep silence, and a time to speak." So when you open your mouth in your own defense, make sure it is God's timing and not your own. In all matters of great consequence, making sure of God's timing is critical.

When you're patient and you wait on God for HIS timing, you grow stronger. I've found this to be true. Waiting on God makes you strong! I have tasted and seen that the Lord is good and the Word of God is true.

So if there is someone in your life that has slandered you even when you are "right", don't act in haste.  Even when they hurt you and say all kinds of wrong things about you! Jesus knows what this feels like, and he says:

Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:17-21

When you wait on the Lord to bring you justice, you will rise up on wings as eagles. I rejoice in the Lord. He's my portion. He's my rock. He's my deliverer. 

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