Thursday, June 4, 2009

Use of the Tongue - Slander

Another wrong use of the tongue is that of "slander." These are powerful words. There are many Biblical references to "slander." I will put most of those here in this post.

1. Leviticus 19:16
" 'Do not go about spreading slander among your people. " 'Do not do anything that endangers your neighbor's life. I am the LORD.

Slander can be life-threatening. It seems here to have more legal connotations. It does in our legal system. This particular law is part of various laws given after the Decalogue.

2. Deuteronomy 22:14
and slanders her and gives her a bad name, saying, "I married this woman, but when I approached her, I did not find proof of her virginity,"

Here we see that under the Old Testament system, women who were virgins before they got married were protected from husbands who would slander them. Evidently, these husbands would do this so that they could get a divorce and get rid of a wife when they had no grounds for divorce. In a very real sense, this threatened the woman's life, since the punishment for adultery under the Old Testament theocracy was the stoning to death of the offender.

3. Psalm 15:3
and has no slander on his tongue, who does his neighbor no wrong and casts no slur on his fellowman,

It is easy to cast a slur on another. Even if we don't come out and say it, if we insinuate it, it is still slander in God's eyes. Slurs and innuendo are also ways that people slander one another. Those who want to have a place in God's sanctuary and holy hill will not slander others, or even cast slurs on his fellowman.

1 LORD, who may dwell in your sanctuary?
Who may live on your holy hill?
2 He whose walk is blameless
and who does what is righteous,
who speaks the truth from his heart

3 and has no slander on his tongue,
who does his neighbor no wrong
and casts no slur on his fellowman,

4 who despises a vile man
but honors those who fear the LORD,
who keeps his oath
even when it hurts,

5 who lends his money without usury
and does not accept a bribe against the innocent.
He who does these things
will never be shaken.

4. Psalm 35:15
But when I stumbled, they gathered in glee; attackers gathered against me when I was unaware. They slandered me without ceasing.

Slanderers often kick a person when they are down.

5. Psalm 38:20
Those who repay my good with evil slander me when I pursue what is good.

Often those to whom we have done much good end up turning on us and spreading rumors about us. They may even be telling the truth in part, but the intention is to harm or even destroy.

I think of many parents who have suffered this kind of thing with their children. I have a good friend who is going through this kind of thing with her daughter. It is very hard for her.

Often, ex-spouses will slander one another. Sometimes, the offending spouse will slander their victim in an attempt to cover up their own wrongdoing. I have seen this happen, too.

I wonder if David had his own son, Absalom in mind when he wrote these words.

6. Psalm 50:20
You speak continually against your brother and slander your own mother's son.

It is especially sad when siblings slander one another. It is especially sad when, in the body of Christ, Christians resort to slander.

7. Psalm 54:5
Let evil recoil on those who slander me; in your faithfulness destroy them.

Strong words! God does not ignore slander. We had better repent of it if we have engaged in it.

8. Psalm 101:5
Whoever slanders his neighbor in secret, him will I put to silence; whoever has haughty eyes and a proud heart, him will I not endure.

We may think that if we slander someone it is in secret. However, God hears it. Again, let's repent of it before God deals with us as we deserve.

9. Proverbs 10:18
He who conceals his hatred has lying lips, and whoever spreads slander is a fool.

Yes. The one who spreads slander is a fool. I think that this refers to the fact that when someone wants to spread slander, the last person he or she tells is the one who is being slandered. It is supposedly done in secret. It is a lie to not tell the person what you have in your heart, and then spread those supposed secret lies around behind their back. It is foolish, because slander is never secret, and it eventually doubles back on the one who uses it to spread hatred.

10. Jeremiah 6:28
They are all hardened rebels, going about to slander. They are bronze and iron; they all act corruptly.

Who are they rebelling against? God, really, though they may also be rebelling against His properly established authorities.

11. Jeremiah 9:4
"Beware of your friends; do not trust your brothers. For every brother is a deceiver, and every friend a slanderer.

Slanderers often turn on each other, I have noticed.

12. Ezekiel 22:9 In you are slanderous men bent on shedding blood; in you are those who eat at the mountain shrines and commit lewd acts.

Those who slander may also want bloodshed. They may also be engaged in false religious practices which involve gross immorality. It is not always the case, of course. Exekiel was talking about the depths of depravity that God's people had sunk to in their rebellion. These particular slanderers were also engaged in other detestable practices.

13. Ezekiel 36:3 Therefore prophesy and say, 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Because they ravaged and hounded you from every side so that you became the possession of the rest of the nations and the object of people's malicious talk and slander,

During the time of Ezekiel, part of God's judgment on Israel was that they were the object of the malicious talk and slander of other nations. I think it safe to say that when we are being slandered ourselves, we should search our hearts and repent of any known sin. The slander of others may be God's discipline.

Matthew 15:19
For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.

All of these sins have their origin in the human heart. No one can say that they have never slandered another person. No one can say that they have never listened to and spread slander. Often, this involves public figures. It seems that slandering a public figure is somehow okay, even for Christians. It may be legal. I'm not sure I'd try to convince God that slander is not sin, even when it is about a public figure. Those involved in serious, Christian apologetics or counter cult ministries are very careful not to slander others. Analyze their teachings in love, yes. Slander, no. They want to help Christians defend the faith, as well as help those trapped in cults to escape.

We need to be careful. Even when speaking of Satan, we should not slander him and the celestial beings. We tell the truth about him and don't get into "shouting matches" with the devil as some are wont to do.

14. Romans 1:30
slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents;

Again, slanderers is mentioned right up there with the worst kind of sinners.

15. Romans 3:8
Why not say—as we are being slanderously reported as saying and as some claim that we say—"Let us do evil that good may result"? Their condemnation is deserved.

Misrepresenting the teachings of others is also slander. Deliberately misrepresenting the teachings of the Word of God is one of the worst kinds of slander.

16. 1 Corinthians 4:13
when we are slandered, we answer kindly. Up to this moment we have become the scum of the earth, the refuse of the world.

Answer a slanderer kindly, but do answer them - as Paul did.

17. 1 Corinthians 5:11 But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat.

Stay away from those who slander, especially Christians who are known to have the habit of slanderering others. Our church had one case like this some years back where one man had to be made to leave the church.

18. 1 Corinthians 6:10
nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

Those who habitually slander others will not go to heaven. Period.

19. 2 Corinthians 12:20
For I am afraid that when I come I may not find you as I want you to be, and you may not find me as you want me to be. I fear that there may be quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, factions, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder.

Slander can even happen in the church.

20. Ephesians 4:31
Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.

What do we do when we realise that we have fallen into this dreadful sin that endangers our souls? Repent. Get rid of it out of our lives. Work at getting rid of it.

21. Colossians 3:8
But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.

Get rid of these things.

22. 1 Timothy 5:14
So I counsel younger widows to marry, to have children, to manage their homes and to give the enemy no opportunity for slander.

Young women need to keep busy in their homes so that the devil won't slander the church because of its women with moral problems.

23. 1 Timothy 6:1
All who are under the yoke of slavery should consider their masters worthy of full respect, so that God's name and our teaching may not be slandered.

We don't have slaves, but most of us do work for someone. Christian employees should earn the respect of their employers so that people won't say things like, "look at what a lazy mess that guy is, and he calls himself a Christian! They're all alike. They're all hypocrites."

24. 2 Timothy 3:3
without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good,

Love and slander do not go together. The one who refuses to forgive generally slanders the one that has offended them. There is no way to pacify an unforgiving person. The Bible proves itself wise in not just suggesting that we stay away from slanderers, but rather commanding that we stay away from them.

25. Titus 2:3
Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good.

Slander can be a problem at any age.

26. Titus 3:2 to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and to show true humility toward all men.

No matter how bitter this pill is to swallow, a Christian leader cannot slander others. Yes, others can slander him until the cows come home, but he cannot retaliate. Yes, he can defend himself as Paul did, but he cannot spread slander about others. He cannot go on the attack, but he can defend himself. Paul defended himself when he was slandered. It was a measured, and careful defense.

J27. James 2:7
Are they not the ones who are slandering the noble name of him to whom you belong?

How were the rich slandering the name of Christ? By withholding wages from their workers. A rich person who is also generous is a great blessing to all they come in contact with.

28. James 4:11
Brothers, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it.

This is a command for Christians not to slander one another at all.

29. 1 Peter 2:1
Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind.

Get rid of slander.

30.<em>1 Peter 3:16
keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.

Good behavior defeats the slanderer.

31. 2 Peter 2:11
Bold and arrogant, these men are not afraid to slander celestial beings; yet even angels, although they are stronger and more powerful, do not bring slanderous accusations against such beings in the presence of the Lord.

Don't even slander demons.

32. Jude 1:8
In the very same way, these dreamers pollute their own bodies, reject authority and slander celestial beings.

Don't even slander demons.

33. Jude 1:9
But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not dare to bring a slanderous accusation against him, but said, "The Lord rebuke you!"

Not even the archangel Michael slandered the devil.

34. Revelation 2:9
I know your afflictions and your poverty—yet you are rich! I know the slander of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.

35. Revelation 13:6
He opened his mouth to blaspheme God, and to slander his name and his dwelling place and those who live in heaven.

The devil slanders God and His people.

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