Slander and how to approach it
Published: Wednesday, September 4, 2013 at 2:56 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, September 4, 2013 at 2:56 p.m.
Greetings all, in the name of Jesus.
I have some questions for you to meditate on: Have you ever been the constant target of negative and hurtful comments or statements by people such as co-workers, family members and others, and also by members of the church?
Have you been on the receiving end of deliberate lies, untrue gossip or other comments designed to embarrass you and make you look bad in the sight of others, especially when you strive to do the will of God?
If you answered "yes" to any or all of these questions, rest assured, you are not alone. However, there is good news, and that is the word of God from Isaiah 54:17, which states: "No weapon formed against you shall prosper."
Let me attempt to explain somewhat further. The questions that I posed earlier deal with all of us who find ourselves victims of slander or, as the Bible says, reproach. Slander, as defined in the dictionary, means utterance or defamatory statements that are hurtful to the reputation or well-being of a person. Reproach, as it is used in the King James version of the Bible, means almost the exact same thing, but from a biblical standpoint.
But, brothers and sisters, even as we are being worn down emotionally by the words used against us, there is a word from the Lord to help us become overcomers and claim victory over the enemy.
For example, during Jesus' famous "Sermon on the Mount," as recorded in St. Matthew Chapter 5, Jesus taught the disciples and others who sat and listened that day by declaring: "Blessed are you when they (meaning the folk we have to deal with today) revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for my sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for they (meaning the mean folk in the Old Testament) persecuted the prophets who were before you."
Believe it or not saints: False persecution that is aimed at us actually helps our spiritual lives and makes us stronger in the Lord. How? One, by taking our eyes off the earthly issues, and two, by strengthening our faith as we endure and are brought closer to God, where we can be of greater service to God every day. In other words, what the devil means for bad, God will turn to good, or in our favor!
Finally, the very fact that we have to deal with lies, gossip and other attempts to disturb us means that we have been faithful, because folk who have little or no faith would often go unnoticed.
In other words, the more true good we try to do, the more we are noticed by mean and faithless folk who are fueled by jealousy, hate and a lack of God in their lives.
My parting advice? As one who has been falsely persecuted, even as a minister of the gospel, I say to you that, no matter where you go, or what you strive to do, there will be those folk who will be around to make you detour from what God has called you to do or be.
But as you go forward, remember the powerful words of the Apostle Paul in 1st Corinthians 15:58: "Be ye steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord."
May God bless you all.
The Rev. Milford Lewis Griner is pastor of Pleasant Plain United Methodist Church in Jonesville.