What should you do about slander?
The writer is pastor of the United Church of God Big Sandy.
By Dave Havir
BIG SANDY, Texas--Slander is a gruesome thing. Any person on the receiving end of slander knows the pain of this particularly insidious kind of unrighteousness.
Why does God allow slander? Why does God allow the pain of slander? There must be some positive reasons.
It happened to Christ
Early in the ministry of Jesus Christ, He found Himself at odds with the organized religion of His day. By speaking the truth, Jesus became the target of frequent criticism.
When Jesus spoke the truth in the synagogue, the people became filled with wrath (Luke 4:28). In fact, they threw Him out of the city (verse 29).
When Jesus spoke against the religious appearance of the Pharisees, they began a campaign of trying to trap Him (Luke 11:53-54). They communicated with Him to set traps for Him.
When Jesus would speak among the people, the religious leaders would send spies who would pretend to be honorable men and who would seek to find ways to deliver Him to the authorities (Luke 20:20).
The religious leaders actually sought false witnesses against Jesus that they might be able to put Him to death (Matthew 26:59).
Why did God allow this behavior to happen to the Son of God?
Looking to God
The book of Hebrews shows that Jesus Christ learned obedience by the things He suffered (Hebrews 5:8). If the perfect Christ learned something, what can the we imperfect people learn?
Jesus offered up prayers and supplications to God (verse 7). Jesus talked to God with strong crying and tears. He communicated with the One who was able to save Him.
Preparing to serve
In the book of Hebrews, Jesus Christ is called "a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God" (Hebrews 2:17). Jesus is called a high priest who understands our trials because he "was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin" (Hebrews 4:15).
Christ's trials helped Him to fulfill His responsibility as a high priest. How are your trials helping you?
Christians who will be a part of the first resurrection will be priests of God and of Christ. They will be servants for 1,000 years (and on into eternity).
Most people realize that priests taught the law of God. Some people do not realize that priests also administered justice.
There are various ways to prepare for the future. Here are a few.
First, a Christian can prepare for this future service opportunity by studying the Bible. There are many instructions and examples in the Bible about God's loving system of justice.
Second, a Christian can prepare for this future service opportunity by living biblical principles. There are plenty of opportunities in family life, employment situations and other life experiences for Christians to act in a godly manner.
Learning about injustice
Third, a Christian can prepare for this future service opportunity by encountering some negative experiences. Think about this: Why did Christ experience wicked dealings with people?
Does God want His people to imitate these people's habits in dealing with other people? Certainly not. God wants people to experience these things so that the cycle can be broken. Who will break the cycle? How does the cycle become broken?
The wounds of a talebearer cut deep (Proverbs 18:8). By experiencing the wounds, we can become better servants. We can make a commitment to avoid the behavior that caused our wounds. We can make a commitment to learn the behavior that heals wounds.
Jesus Christ explained His job description in Luke 4:18-19. Included in His words were "to heal the brokenhearted" and "to set at liberty them that are bruised."
People who have experienced a broken heart can learn to be good leaders. People who have experienced bruises can learn to be good leaders.
An old proverb talks about the consequences of slander and gossip: Trying to stop slander and gossip about you is like trying to catch feathers in the wind!
A person could spend his life trying to chase down every feather of misinformation, but how productive would that be? Or a person can learn from the experience of being slandered.
We can learn to depend more upon our heavenly Father. We can look to Him for comfort and support. We can remember the pain of slander inflicted upon us. In this way we can become more effective servants of God.
We can make a conscious effort to move forward in our lives. We can make decisions that point us toward the high calling of God (Philippians 3:14).
We have a dream that we will be priests with God and Christ. That dream will become a reality in the near future.
Why should we waste our time chasing after feathers in the wind? Isn't it better to spend our time reaching for dreams that God will make real?
© The Journal: News of the Churches of God