Pristine Grace

On Being Slandered
by John Pedersen
On Being Slandered

    Christians hurt by ill words of others, or despairing for the falsity of a judgment rendered against them, may take the following as consolation: 

  1. As difficult as it is to hear of unkind or untrue things spoken about you, consider this: It is better for the things to be slander than to be accurate depictions. Does it hurt to think of how others represent you? Take comfort in knowing this: God has blotted out your transgressions, keeps no record of your wrongs, and delights in you on account of His Son. This is the judgment that matters. Those who know this truth will never fail to love you and forgive you. Just as He will never leave or forsake His own, those who belong to Him will not leave or forsake each other. Treasure their love, for it is a reflection of the love that is love indeed. The “love” of those who slander you to others is not worth having.
  2. It is a common notion to suppose, when hearing of this or that bad thing spoken of another, “there must be at least an element of truth to it”. This supposition is invalid, as the following demonstrates: No man had more bad things spoken of Him than the Lord Jesus, and He was sinless. This is not, of course, to say there is never an “element of truth” behind slander. It is to say this is not invariably so.
  3. One of the most ubiquitous expressions of slander takes your past sins and conveys the impression you are ever and always “OK” with your misdeeds, reconciled to them, and a dedicated representative of the things of which you are ashamed. “He is still up to his old ways”, it goes, casting a certain picture of your present life and character in the mind’s eye of those who hear. 

    Have you committed adultery? You are an adulterer still. Have you stolen? You are a thief still. So it goes. This, beyond question, is also the most harmful and effective form of slander, because it has concrete evidence from your own life to give it credibility. What to do? Return to the first point: The love that matters is the love that does not keep a record of your past wrongs as determinative of your present mind. The love that matters is the love of God, and those who love as He does. 

    While it is laudable and may even be necessary to correct the false judgments of others in defense of the honor of the One who lives in you, don't yield to the temptation to “set the record straight” in the minds of those who have made it clear enough they do not share your confession of the gospel. Trying to correct a false impression conveyed by someone who does not care for the truth is like trying to mend a breaching dam of manure with a band-aid. A slanderer will, if silenced in one point, always burst out with more filth on another point. It will always find a way to come out, and you will end up out of band-aids, and still covered with manure. 

    Rest in Christ. He will sort it out, and He will make it all right. With this, rejoice in the company of those who know all about your sins and faults, but, mindful of their own sins and  thankful for their own forgiveness, don’t hold on to them and love you anyway.