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The Joy of Justice:

SLANDER

BY HERSCHEL MARTINDALE

The Lord Jesus, in His final recorded prayer for the disciples, cried out to the Father: “…that they may be one as We are one: I in them and You in Me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that You sent me and have loved them even as You have loved Me.” How united does the Lord want us to be? — As united as the Father is with the Son. What will happen if we are united like this? — The world will know that the Father sent the Son. Jesus knew the power of unity and the difficulty of achieving it, so He made this request a major part of His last prayer for the disciples.

Earlier, the Lord has said, “By this shall all men know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” This is how people will know that God is alive — if we love one another.

Without love and unity it will be impossible to reach the world with the gospel. How can we ever influence others if we are contending and arguing amongst ourselves? Not only will the world see us as hypocrites, but we will be disorganized, discouraged, and defeated.

No army has ever won a war without being united. No football team that was filled with fighting, arguing, and controversy has ever won a championship. Jesus said: “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand” (Matthew 12:25).

Is it any wonder that the devil’s number one attack-point against believers is to try to get them disunited, divided, and fighting against each other. And he has one major tool to do it — slander.

In II Corinthians 2:11 the apostle Paul says that we must not be unaware of Satan’s schemes. Yet surprisingly few Christians understand very much about his number one scheme: slander. The Bible has much to say about this area. If we are to escape from the devil’s snares, we must be experts in this area. We must understand what it is, how to detect it, and how to respond when we hear it.

Tool of the Devil?

Our first shock in studying this truth comes when we look up the word “slanderer” in a lexicon and find the Greek word “diabolos,” or “devil.” The word “diaballo” (dia – through, ballo – throw or thrust) means to “throw or thrust through,” or “to defame.” Another lexicon says, “to bring charges with hostile intent, either falsely and slanderously, or justly.”

A slanderer, then, is one who “thrusts through” or destroys another by bringing charges to others so that they will think less of the person or withdraw from him. A definition I like is this:

Slanderer: “One who seeks to destroy another’s respect, credibility, or reputation by wrong communication of facts, or creating evil suspicions.”

The devil (“diabolos”) is a destroyer and an accuser of the brethren (Revelation 12:9-10). Whenever we slander or co-operate with slander, WE BECOME A TOOL OF THE DEVIL to accomplish his work.

Five Portions on Slander.

1. God laid down, in the law of Moses, the main issues concerning this subject.

Leviticus 19:16-18
16 — “You shall not go about as a slanderer among your people, and you are not to act against the life of your neighbor, I am the Lord.”
17 — “You shall not hate your fellow countryman in your heart; you may surely reprove your neighbor, but shall not incur sin because of him.”
18 — “You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.”
From this portion of Scripture we can make several observations:

A. Slander must not be indulged.

B. Slander is a form of selfish hatred.

C. We must deal righteously with differences.

D. Slander involves a spirit of vengeance.

E. Slander involves a grudge against someone.

F. Slander is not from love, but from self, and is sin.
2. The Lord Jesus identified slander as coming from self and the flesh, and called it evil.

Mark 7:21-23; Matthew 15:18-20 — “All these things (slander) proceed from within and defile the man.”

3. The Apostle Paul challenged believers to “put away slander.”

Ephesians 4:31 — “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and SLANDER be put away from you, along with all malice.”

4. The spirit and attitude of David in the Old Testament is an example for us:

Psalm 101:4-5 — “A perverse heart shall depart from me, I will know no evil. Whoever secretly SLANDERS his neighbor, him I will destroy.”

5. The Proverbs abound with challenge and guidance on this subject.

— 10:18 “He who conceals hatred has lying lips, and he who spreads SLANDER is a fool.”

— 11:9 “With his mouth the GODLESS man destroys his neighbor.”

— 16:28 “A perverse man spreads strife, and a SLANDERER separates intimate friends.”

— 20:19 “He who goes about as a slanderer reveals secrets; therefore DO NOT ASSOCIATE with a gossip.”

— 17:15 “He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous; both of them alike are an abomination to the Lord.”

— 6:12-14 “A worthless person, a WICKED man, is the one … who spreads strife.”

— 6:16-19 “There are six things which the Lord HATES,… a false witness who utters lies, and one who spreads strife among brothers.”

— 26:21-25 “Like charcoal to hot embers and wood to fire, so is a contentious man to kindle strife.”

“The words of a whisperer are like dainty morsels and they go down into the innermost parts of the body.”

“He who hates disguises it with his lips, but he lays up deceit in his heart.”

“When he speaks graciously, do not believe him; for there are seven abominations in his heart.”
A prayerful examination of these verses should lead all of us to conclude that slander is wicked, it is sin, and it is an abomination to God. Whenever we LISTEN TO IT, IMAGINE IT, READ IT, OR PASS IT ON, we are always in sin. God calls that person WICKED, EVIL, WORTHLESS, PERVERSE, GODLESS, and AN ABOMINATION. He speaks so strongly because slander is always a cover for selfishness, pride, hatred, and a desire to hurt others. It divides believers, spreads strife, and destroys love and unity. “SLANDER SEPARATES INTIMATE FRIENDS.” The fruit of the Spirit is love, peace, and the preserving of unity. The fruit of the flesh is slander, division and strife.


  Herschel Martindale is a pastor of Great Commission Church in Towson, Md. Herschel lives in Towson with his wife, Mardeen.

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