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November 2014

HOW TO HANDLE A SLANDERER

By John Carter

 
It gives a modicum of peace to recognize that slanders are an expected part of this present evil age.  They are in the church and in the world.  They are often motivated by jealousy, impurity, and hatred.  Their mouths like a sewage pump pour forth filth.
 
“Their throats are open graves;
Their tongues practice deceit,
The poison of vipers is on their lips,
Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.”
(Rom. 3:13,14)
 
Sound like anyone you know?
 
When unjustly slandered, I have been sorely tempted to instruct my attorney to prosecute to the full extent of the law.  That’s why we have courts, right? Isn’t it sometimes necessary to send the sheriff in to apprehend the slandering coward hiding behind the church doors?
 
But there is a better way.  Jesus said, “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.  Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”  (Matt. 5:11,12)  Rejoicing is really the last thing I feel like doing when I am slandered, but Jesus said it’s what His disciple will do.  His Christianity is tough!
 
Jesus didn’t leave it there.  He raised the bar even higher when He said, “…love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be the children of your Father in Heaven.” (Matt. 5:44,45)  To this struggling pilgrim, that’s tough medicine that goes against the natural resentment born of perceived injustice.  But then, this religion of Christ is an unnatural, supernatural thing that is the opposite of our delicate pride and sensitive self-esteem.  “Don’t sue the malicious slanderer,” Jesus says, “Pray for him! Love him! (or her!)”   Easier said than done, I think.  Undoubtedly this unnatural reaction calls for an abundant endowment of unnatural grace.
 
Remember, the poor slanderer is not bound for glory, but a place called Hell.  Liars will indeed burn unless they repent and make restitution, and restitution is painful.  We can safely leave them gently in the hands of the Judge.  But, until Judgment Day when wrongs are righted and His people vindicated, we will just need to humbly practice the teachings of our Lord.  It’s not easy being a Christian.
 
Do you and I really need to be concerned about the liar whose life is soon to be snuffed out?
 
Love the evil slanderer, Jesus says, and be consoled by the truth that goodness will ultimately prevail.
 

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