Has anybody ever slandered you? Have they spread lies about you or spoken about you in a way that has damaged your reputation? Perhaps you felt the need to try to stop them or to defend yourself? Beware, slander is a trap. If you don’t know how to deal with it, it will cause you a lot of pain and has the potential to distract you from fulfilling your God-given calling. Listen as David unpacks what the Bible teaches us to do when somebody slanders us so that we can avoid the traps and walk in wonderful freedom.
1. What most impacted you about Episode 6?
2. Have you ever been in a situation where others were speaking negatively about you? How did it feel and how were you tempted to respond?
3. Do you find it easy to believe that God will defend you and work on your behalf, or do you sometimes find yourself sometimes trying to control situations because you are afraid of what will happen if you don’t say or do something?
4. How can we stay focused on what God has called us to do, even in the midst of distractions?
Action Point: Thank God for the times you have been slandered purely as a result of being His representative. Spend a few moments forgiving anyone Satan has used to try to distract or discredit you by spreading false information about you. Ask God to help you to be quick to forgive and not easily offended, and to help you to stay focused on what He has called you to do.
hey guys and welcome back to this series on the power of words we’re now in episode six and we’re going to be looking at when others slander you and it can be very painful when other people are speaking negatively about you in a way that might damage your reputation especially if the things that they’re saying are not even true or if they’ve wrongly judged your heart and it can be even more painful if those people are people that we really loved or respected or trusted or perhaps if those people have great influence over others and we’re concerned that our reputation is going to be badly damaged there are also times when we’re not sure what is being said about us or even who is saying it but we notice that people have started to treat us differently and we haven’t done anything wrong or there’s nothing that’s happened in that relationship to cause that and that’s when we think that perhaps somebody has been spreading false information about us now i have personal experience of this and in this episode i really want to help you to know how to handle that situation and as we go on i think this is going to become even more helpful and encouraging so first of all i just want to say that in episode 4 i said something that might have sounded a little bit strange i said that there are times when other people slandering us is okay well what did i mean by that well i didn’t mean that it’s not wrong for them to be spreading lies about us slander is always sin but what i was referring to is when people slander us simply because of our association with jesus let’s look at what jesus said about this in matthew 5 11-12 he said blessed are you when people insult you persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me rejoice and be glad because great is your reward in heaven for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you so there are times when being slandered is a sign that you really are a true representative or messenger of god and jesus said we should rejoice and be glad when that happens because great is our reward in heaven and in luke 6 he says it like this he says rejoice in that day and leap for joy because great is your reward in heaven for that is how their ancestors treated the prophets but what about those times when it doesn’t seem to simply be our association with jesus that somebody has a problem with what if the person who is slandering you is actually a fellow believer you know people can slander us for all kinds of different reasons it could be because they’re jealous of you it could be because they feel threatened by you it could be because they’ve wrongly judged you it could be because somebody else has given them false information about you and they’ve believed it or it could simply be their way of dealing with their own pain rejection fear or insecurity you see sometimes people think that by putting you down they’ll be able to further their own career ministry goals or reputation or somehow they’ll be protecting themselves by speaking negatively about you and one of the saddest things i see actually is christians who make it their ministry to tear down the reputations of other christians who they think are in error and of course there are times when it’s necessary to correct errors but i just want to say this i don’t believe that there is any god-ordained ministry on the earth that is built on gossip slander and accusation those are the works of the enemy they’re not the works of the children of god and look at this in proverbs 12 verse 3 i think this is going to really encourage you it says no one can be established through wickedness but the righteous cannot be uprooted so no matter how much the slanderer looks like they are succeeding the righteous person cannot be uprooted but i want you to listen very carefully to what i’m about to say slander is a trap if you can continue to walk in righteousness by keeping your heart right you cannot be uprooted but if you allow slander to drag you into offense anger bad reactions speaking negatively about others actually you’ve fallen for the enemy’s trap but there is a way to handle slander so that you emerge totally unharmed by it and actually you can emerge stronger wiser and more christ-like than you were before you went through it and you might be thinking to yourself but david is so painful it feels so unjust i feel like my relationships and everything that i’ve worked for are just being destroyed in front of me believe me i know how you feel being slandered can feel like you’re going through a fire and it can feel like your life is going to be ruined and there’s nothing you can do to stop it but i really believe that god is going to change your perspective as you watch this episode and he’s going to equip you for that situation in the book of daniel we read that the king at the time his name was nebuchadnezzar threw three men into a fire because they refused to worship a golden idol now the fire was so hot that the soldiers that threw them into the fire were killed and look at what it says in daniel 3 24-27 it says then king nebuchadnezzar leapt to his feet in amazement and asked his advisors weren’t there three men that we tied up and threw into the fire they replied certainly your majesty he said look i see four men walking around in the fire unbound and unharmed and the fourth looks like a son of the gods nebuchadnezzar then approached the opening of the blazing furnace and shouted shadrach meshach and abednego servants of the most high god come out come here so shadrach meshach and abednego came out of the fire and the satraps prefects governors and royal advisors crowded around them they saw that the fire had not harmed their bodies nor was a hair of their heads singed their robes were not scorched and there was no smell of fire on them did you see that the guys who threw them into the fire were badly burnt but these guys did not even smell of smoke there was no sign that they had ever been in the fire why well it’s all because of the fourth person who was in the fire with them jesus and i want to say this if you walk through the fire of slander alone handling it in a natural human way it will burn you but if you walk through this fire with jesus you will cope with it very differently and so in this episode i want to talk about three things that i believe jesus would be saying to us in the fire and the first one is this forgive you see the enemy’s purpose behind slander is to get you offended if he can get you offended then he can use your offense to hurt others that’s why the bible tells us that we must not allow ourselves to become bitter this is hebrews 12 15 it says see to it that no one falls short of the grace of god and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many so you can avoid the trouble if you avoid allowing the bitter root to grow up because bitterness and offense are like poison and if this poison gets into your heart it will destroy you and of course whatever is in your heart will come out of your mouth so i want you to remember this slander wants to make a slanderer out of you i’m going to say that again slander wants to make a slanderer out of you and the only way to stop this process is to forgive the person who is slandering you now not all christians are quick to do this many fall into the trap of offense so i want to you to ask yourself this question right now how mature am i in christ when it comes to handling offense you see i believe that there are four different stages of handling offence that we can be at the first one is when you’re offended and you stay offended and when jesus spoke of the last days he said this matthew 24 10 and then many will be offended will betray one another and will hate one another and this is when the state of your heart is exactly the opposite of what god wants it to be rather than forgiving actually you’ve allowed your heart to become hard you’ve allowed bitterness in there’s even hatred in your heart towards other people perhaps there’s a lot of offense and anger and actually it’s stealing your life and it’s making it difficult if not impossible for you to love others it’s probably also affecting your relationship with god and i believe that the holy spirit is speaking to you right now because i believe that he wants to soften your heart and set you free from this state of offense and you know freedom from offense starts simply by saying god i’m sorry please soften my heart right now and the next stage of dealing with offense is when you’re offended but then you forgive so this is when somebody gets offended but they eventually realize that they’re offended and they choose to forgive colossians 3 13 says bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone forgive as the lord forgave you so if jesus is with you in the fire he’ll be saying to you right now i know that you’re hurting i know that what they did to you is wrong and it’s unjust but i want to say to you that in the same way i forgave you forgive and of course the aim in this stage is that we would become quick to forgive after all if we really believe that jesus has forgiven us for everything that we’ve ever done wrong who are we to hold back that type of forgiveness from others the quicker we are to forgive the quicker our hearts will be healed and the quicker we will be free now if you’re struggling with being quick to forgive i want to encourage you to ask god to give you a revelation of his forgiveness of you because forgiveness is an overflow of a heart that knows that it’s forgiven when our heart is melted by the unconditional love and forgiveness of god then we will be able to extend that same love and forgiveness to others and if you need to stop this video just to take a few minutes to forgive some people please do that before continuing the third stage in handling offense when we start to get more mature in christ is we get to the point where we are not easily offended this is when our hearts have been transformed by god’s love and it’s much more difficult to offend or anger us first corinthians 13 verse 5 talks about love and it says it does not dishonor others it is not self-seeking it is not easily angered and it keeps no record of wrongs so i want to ask you right now are you easily angered are you easily offended and if you are and if you feel angry and offended right now why not ask god to show you why this situation has upset you so much because it could be that this situation has triggered some pain that was already in you from a previous experience and and maybe the person that you really need to forgive is someone who did something to you a long time ago and maybe god has let this happen because he wants to heal you from something deeper he wants to heal you from an experience that you had because he wants to make you into a person that is not easily angered and he knows that because of this pain that’s in your heart you’re easily triggered it could be that you’re easily triggered by rejection or negative opinions of others because the way you were treated in the past so i encourage you to seek him and forgive whoever you need to forgive and let him heal your heart so that you can become that person who’s not easily angered or offended and the fourth stage and this is the stage that i really desire to be at as a believer is when you are able to overlook an offense proverbs 19 verse 11 says this a person’s wisdom yields patience it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense can you imagine how much trouble and heartache and frustration it would save you if you were able to overlook the offensive things that other people do to you i believe that that’s where god wants to take all of us and perhaps he’s using this situation to shape our hearts so that we might become those people who have the wisdom to overlook the offences of others so the first thing i believe jesus would be saying to you in the fire is forgive and the second thing that i believe he will be saying to you is you don’t need to defend yourself see with slander the first temptation is to try to defend yourself to try to clear your name and i want to say to you do not fall into this temptation why not well because vindication comes from the lord vindication means the action of clearing someone of blame or suspicion and if your heart is right and you are not guilty of the thing that you are being blamed or accused of you can ask god to vindicate you this is exactly what david did in the psalms this is psalm 17 verse 2 he said hear me lord my plea is just listen to my cry hear my prayer it does not rise from deceitful lips let my vindication come from you may your eyes see what is right and of course god knows exactly what has happened he knows that you didn’t do or say the things that you’re being accused of and trying to vindicate or defend yourself can be exhausting in fact it’s part of the trap you see it’s the enemy’s attempt to draw you away from the things that god is calling you to do and the things that god is calling you to focus on into a battle that you don’t need to fight and we must settle in our hearts that vindication comes from god and then we must choose to trust him see the person who is slaughtering you is not on god’s side so if you make sure that your heart is right you can ask the lord to deal with your enemies david prayed prayers like this in psalm 17 verse 13 he said rise up lord confront them bring them down with your sword rescue me from the wicked and david had such confidence that god who knows everything would eventually vindicate him in verse 15 he said this as for me i will be vindicated and will see your face when i awake i will be satisfied with seeing your likeness you see david knew that god would vindicate him and he was able to keep his eyes fixed on god through all of his struggles and all the problems he had with his enemies and i actually think that sometimes god allows us to be slandered just so that he can take our trust in him to a much deeper level so if you’ve fallen into the trap of trying to defend yourself and let’s be honest you probably haven’t done a great job of it my advice is this step aside and let god take up his position as your defender and if you’re unable to let go of control in this area of your life it may be that your reputation has become a little bit of an idol to you it may be that your fear of man is greater than your fear of god you see if your reputation is fully entrusted to god you won’t need to get busy trying to save him you’ll simply seek to honor him knowing that all that really matters is what he thinks of you and there is so much peace and freedom available to the person who lives like that and i want to encourage you to take king david’s advice in psalm 37 verses 1 to 6 he says this do not fret because of those who are evil or be envious of those who do wrong for like the grass they will soon wither like green plants they will soon die away trust in the lord and do good dwell in the land and enjoy a safe pasture take delight in the lord and he will give you the desires of your heart commit your way to the lord trust in him and he will do this he will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn your vindication like the noonday sun what a promise you know we can barely even look at the noonday sun it’s so bright and god said if you trust him like that your vindication will be like the noonday sun but are you walking like that are you trusting god and fully committing your way to him see one of the signs that we’re not trusting god that we’re not secure in him is that we try to bring as many people as we can on to our side we try to convince people that we are innocent and in so doing we often end up speaking negatively about others and what happens is that while we’re trying to strengthen our position we actually end up weakening it and i want you to remember this the strength of your position is not where you are in the opinions of men it’s where you are in the opinion of god say that again the strength of your position is not where you are in the opinions of men it’s where you are in the opinion of god okay so the third thing that i believe jesus will be saying to us in the fire is this don’t shrink back you see sometimes when we are attacked we retreat but just after jesus tells us to rejoice when people speak badly of us he says this matthew 5 13-16 you are the salt of the earth but if the salt loses its saltiness how can it be made salty again it’s no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot you are the light of the world a town built on a hill cannot be hidden neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl instead they put it on its stand and it gives light to everyone in the house in the same way let your light shine before others that they may see your good deeds and glorify your father in heaven so i want to say to you don’t love less love more don’t shrink back from the things that god has called you to do do them even more confidently don’t hide your lamp let it shine even more brightly let’s pray father we thank you so much for your word we want to thank you that vindication comes from you we want to thank you that we don’t need to defend ourselves because you are a great defender and father we want to say sorry for anything that we’ve done wrong we want to say sorry for when we’ve tried to defend ourselves or when we’ve tried to bring other people on to our side and instead of strengthening our position actually we’ve weakened our position and father we want to choose right now to forgive those who have slandered us who have spoken negatively about us have tried to damage our reputation we thank you that you have forgiven us and out of the overflow of that forgiveness we can forgive them we just pray father that you would provide your grace and strength and peace and wisdom as we go through the fire and we thank you that you are in the fire with us and you will give us everything that we need to endure and to be victorious in jesus name amen i’ll see you in episode 7.