We don’t use the word “slander” very often anymore. Although we do hear its synonyms … defamation, backstabbing, and bad-mouthing being used on a regular basis.
What exactly is “slander”? What are the truths about slander?
Slander is defined as…
- Accusations based on hearsay and rumors that remain undocumented and unproven.
- A false spoken statement about someone that damages their reputation.
- An abusive attack on a person’s character or good name.
So, slander is the use of words to disparage and defeat someone who is perceived as an enemy or opponent needing to be crushed. Sadly, we have come to accept it as simply part of society. It’s used in politics, business, and anywhere else the need to “win whatever the cost” is deemed necessary.
So, young, old, and every age in between has to deal with the problems that are caused by slander.
Paul wrote to Timothy about the “Last Days” before Jesus’ return, saying…
In the last days, there will be very difficult times. For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control.2 Timothy 3:1b–3
Are you nodding along with Paul’s words? Do you ever wonder if our current age is the very one Paul was anticipating?
Once again, when we read all of God’s Word, we quickly understand that disobedience, lack of love, unforgiveness, and even slander are not new. They’ve been around since sin entered the world.
David wrote about his struggle with slanderers in Psalm 140…
Lord, rescue me from evil people;Psalm 140:1–3
protect me from cruel people
who make evil plans,
who always start fights.
They make their tongues sharp as a snake’s;
their words are like snake poison.
Slander is like poison. It kills reputations, ruins relationships, and breaks hearts.
The truth is, God cares about the damage of slander so much that He added a Commandment about it…
“You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.”Exodus 20:16 (NASB)
And Jesus said…
“I tell you that on the Judgment Day people will be responsible for every careless thing they have said.”Matthew 12:36
So, what are two vital truths about slander?
- Slander is a sin. It destroys people – breaking hearts, injuring reputations, and ruining relationships.
- Slander needs to be confessed to God in repentance asking Him for forgiveness and healing.
Here are Some Biblical Truths About Slander…
It’s important for us to only speak truthful words that are kind, caring, and forgiving so that we might be living examples of God’s love…
Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. All bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and slander must be removed from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.Ephesians 4:29–32
When we are on the receiving end of slander, we must surrender the pain to God and trust Him to reveal the truth and give us the help we need…
Protect me, Lord,Psalm 140:4, 6–8
from the power of the wicked.
Keep me safe from violent men
who plan to make me stumble.
I say to the Lord, “You are my God.”
Listen, Lord, to my cry for help.
Lord, my Lord, my strong Savior,
you shield my head on the day of battle.
Lord, do not grant the desires of the wicked;
do not let them achieve their goals.
And if we are guilty of slandering someone intentionally or unintentionally . . . we must quickly repent, ask God for His forgiveness, and invite Him to help us speak the truth in love.
A Prayer to Know and Live
the Truths About Slander
Father, the truths about slander are that slander is a sin and that it is hateful and destructive. You know how evil words are able to destroy reputations and relationships. You included lying about others in Your list of commands for us.
Your Spirit inspired Peter to write, “If you want to enjoy life and see many happy days, keep your tongue from speaking evil and your lips from telling lies.” And inspired Solomon to write, There are six things the Lord hates—no, seven things He detests: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that kill the innocent, a heart that plots evil, feet that race to do wrong, a false witness who pours out lies, a person who sows discord in a family.” (Proverbs 6:16–19)
Your Word tells us that You want us to speak the truth in love with gentleness and respect. It tells us that You want us to build each other up in faith and encourage one another in love. Please forgive us for the times we fall short of Your will for us. And help us to love as You command.
In this day and age when slander seems like a way of life. When people lie for selfish goals and purposes … please protect us from all harm and danger. Guard our hearts and cover us with Your loving care.
I love You, Lord, and I give myself to You. Please use me for Your glory that I might shine the light of Your love. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
So, here are just a few things for us to ask ourselves before we speak about someone else … online or in person.
Am I building them up or tearing them down?
Am I telling the truth?
Will speaking this make the situation better or worse?
Am I honoring God with the words I’m about to speak?
And finally, I have an important truth I learned years ago…
If they will do it with you; they will do it to you!
In other words, if someone gossips to you they will gossip about you. If they lie to you they will lie about you. And so on and so forth.
Let’s make it a goal to honor God with our words. He promises that when we repent of the past, He will forgive us. And when we ask for His help to speak the truth in love for His glory … well, that’s something He loves to do, too.
May the Lord bless you and give you all you need to shine the light of His love today and always.
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