We have considered the danger of slander, the harm it does to community, the hindrance to Kingdom progress. In summary, we know we don’t want to be speaking negative words (whether false or true) with any motivation other than genuine love (the Holy Spirit will need to search our hearts on that one!)
We also know we don’t want to entertain the words of a slanderer to us. It will pollute our souls, infect our hearts, and become fuel for fire in the enemy’s hand. (Proverbs 18:8 The words of a talebearer are like tasty trifles, And they go down into the inmost body.)
If someone is sharing inappropriate words, you are responsible for your choice to listen. “But I was just an innocent bystander,” you may say. Wrong. You were an irresponsible bystander. The onus is on you to “be careful little ears what you hear!” You must put an end to the conversation. This can be done politely, without harsh judgment, by simply asking a few pointed questions. “Have you spoken with this person about this? Why don’t you talk with them and not me about your concern since they are the ones involved?” “Does this concern me? Am I to be part of the solution?”
These wise words were left by a commenter recently:
Enough said. I think we know we need to take care and be diligent watchmen of our tongues, seeking help daily from the Holy Spirit. (Psalm 141:3 Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; Keep watch over the door of my lips.)
It’s pretty easy to be down on the tongue. And for good cause. It is a potent little fellow. Read James 3 for further illumination of this. It won’t take long and will lend much clarity to the following discussion.
When we find we are falling prey to envy and pride, a common source of slander, we need to repent — thoroughly acknowledging our sin against God and man for jealousy. Here’s a good litmus test: if we cannot rejoice with those who rejoice, we are in a place of envy or self-pity. The only thorough solution is repentance.
Should we learn to praise Him in everything? Definitely! Do we need to arm ourselves with the Word? Absolutely — for the ongoing battle. But nothing will remove the stain of sin but Christ’s blood. Claiming the Word, quoting the Word, talking ourselves into believing the Word, thinking happy thoughts, declaring His praise, setting the bell for “Hallelujah time outs” — none of these, although good and necessary practices, will take away our sin and break its power. We must repent, over and over again, as many times as we fall, until new patterns are established. The first and absolutely essential thing is repentance. Start there. We will never outgrow our need for His cleansing blood. And, hallelujah, the fount will never run dry!
Then pursue all those other good practices: renewing heart and mind with the Word; developing an attitude of thanksgiving; training your eye to focus on the good, pure, and lovely things. These will all serve as a guard against slander in your life.
Watch for an upcoming article by a young woman of God with a testimony of applying the wisdom of scripture to guard against slander. It’s an encouraging story!
Also, next time I will be discussing the positive power of the tongue to bring life, healing, and grace into the lives of those around us. Hooray! This small member can be redeemed!