It is a a great mercy to be preserved from slander. Be thankful if that is your experience.
Experiencing slander is no fun! Rejoicing in it and responding with kindness is hard; you will need prayer and grace to do it. (Reread the scriptures at the end of the last post for help.) You might not be crushed, but perhaps, you find yourself feeling down. When this happens, ask, “Why am I cast down, O my soul?” Why am I disquieted within?” (See Psalm 42 and 43). Getting to the root causes of temporary depression takes some self-examination. If you know you are to rejoice and you aren’t, ask yourself: Is there sin on my part causing this discomfort? It could be that you are mad because someone has lied about you. Seek to settle your anger before God before the sun goes down (Ephesians 4:26). Or perhaps your own gossip has brought on this lie as retaliation to your own loose tongue? Whatever it is, repent, and turn from it.
If your conscience is clear, then relax. God will clear your name eventually–even if it is in heaven or at the Judgment. “As he will wipe away tears from the eyes, so will he wipe off reproaches from the name” (Thomas Watson, The Ten Commandments, p. 173). “It is the Lord who muzzles the mouths of the wicked, and keeps those dogs that snarl at us, from flying upon us.” (p. 173) Watson went on to remind us that a good conscience guards you like a city wall of brass to protect you from slander’s ill effects. Talk to yourself. There is no need to be downcast for very long.
Standing Up For Yourself or Others
Sometimes you just can’t take it in silence.
When David was being slandered by Saul, Jonathan defended him.
And Jonathan spoke well of David to Saul his father and said to him, ‘Let not the king sin against his servant David, because he has not sinned against you, and because his deeds have brought good to you. For he took his life in his hand and he struck down the Philistine, and the LORD worked a great salvation for all Israel. You saw it, and rejoiced. Why then will you sin against innocent blood by killing David without cause?’ (I Samuel 19:4-5).
In Acts 2, Peter rose up to defend those who were being falsely accused of being drunk. They were really speaking languages supplied by the Holy Spirit.
When Christians were falsely accused of incest and killing children, Tertullian, a Christian writing in the Third Century, couldn’t remain silent. He wrote a famous defense of them.
Matthew Henry, one of my warm-hearted Calvinists, took his opponent to court for slander and won. The loser had started gossip that Henry, a well-known pastor, was seen drunk.
Ernest Reisinger was frequently accused of being doctrinaire and harsh, even unloving. Anyone who knew him could have refuted that with their own personal experience. The truth was that his Calvinist interpretation of scripture was hated and feared by some people in high places.
But, never, never use Matthew 18:15 as an excuse to go to someone to clear the air when you are really just venting your anger!
“Girls Will Be Girls”
This may be true, but don’t accept it for a minute as an excuse to put up with pre-teen cruelty toward another. If your daughter lies about a friend, or spreads negative gossip, rebuke her firmly. Always go back to the Ninth Commandment. Use the Ten Commandments as a standard of righteousness to show her what is right and wrong. Appeal to one of the historical Confessions of Faith. Show her how her lie is a violation of loving her neighbor. How would she feel if a friend slandered her? Crushed? Angry? Depressed? Is that any way to show love?
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:43-48).
Love is patient and kind even when responding to slander.