Dealing With Slander in Our Lives

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:

    If I listened to the slander I would feel guilty and annoyed when the other person walked away. I would kick myself for not saying anything. Then one day when a person we know approached us both and started gossiping and slandering (mostly to Eric) he said (in the nicest way, mind you) “What exactly does this have to do with me?” They gasped and looked shocked. “I guess it doesn’t.” Then he continued, “And what does this have to do with you?” They gasped again, “Uh- it doesn’t.” He finished it- “Well perhaps we shouldn’t be entertaining these kinds of words.”
    It was so clear to me after that. Instead of worrying so much about offending the slanderer, how about the one being slandered and more importantly, our GOD!?
    I don’t hesitate anymore to speak the truth in love and bow out gracefully when I find myself in that type of conversation.

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!


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  1. Just yesterday my pastor taught about the responsibility of a teacher to live his words, practice what he preaches. What a weighty and true charge! Already today I’ve found myself repenting for numerous careless words.

    Whew! Thank you, Holy Spirit, for Your faithful work in my life!

    Posted by Darlene Sinclair | May 19, 2008, 5:52 am
  2. Darlene,

    I will always remember the first time that I sat under your teaching on this subject. I wrote notes on the inside of my Bible cover that are still there today. A good place for me to keep reminding myself of the importance of not falling into gossip/slander. I’m not successful all the time, but I’m so thankful that you taught me so early in my walk with the Lord to repent and beware of the dangers of a “loose” tongue. Thanks.

    Posted by Laura Weber | May 21, 2008, 8:26 am
  3. Again, just what I needed to read. It is difficult in my field, however, to walk away. What I mean is that often it is my JOB to listen and direct. So apparently I carry this over into my “regular” life…
    I guess I need to listen to my own advice to my students! DUH!!!

    Thanks, wonderful post.


    Posted by Michele | May 28, 2008, 8:18 am