SLANDER: A Personal Perspective

A worthless man (woman) digs up evil, while his (her) words are like scorching fire. A perverse (woman) man spreads strife, and a slanderer separates intimate friends (Proverbs 16: 27, 28).

Yesterday I had a truly horrible experience as a victim of slander and the possible, very precious relationship that is, for now, lost to me as a result of this woman's jealousy. What makes me feel especially betrayed is the quarter from which this assault came.

David expressed this same heart-ache when he wrote: For it is not an enemy who reproaches me, then I could bear it; nor is it one who hates me who has exalted himself (herself) against me, then I could hide myself from him. But it is you, a man (woman) my equal, my companion and my familiar friend; we who had sweet fellowship together... (Psalm 55: 12-14a).

We know that David was betrayed by family members at various times throughout his life. The words, "then I could hide myself," seems to indicate a person that lives in close proximity, a connection he cannot easily sever as he would with a political enemy. The phrase also lets us know that the pain David feels is so deep that he would like to withdraw and hide himself. He longs for the space to heal and process a deeply felt trauma; maybe even to forget and minimize the horrible circumstances of this betrayal. But the nature of the relationship affords no such luxury. David will be dealing with the aftermath of this slanderous attack for many years to come.

The very descriptive phrases: "intimate friend, my equal, my companion," informs us that this is a relationship between two adults. Very few people, but family, were even marginally equal to the King. Some family members and a few trusted advisers might have such access. We understand, as we read Psalm 55, that even as David feels pain, anger, and dismay over this betrayal, he also feels profound disappointment. The consequence of this particular betrayal is such that the once valued relationship will never be the same. A facade has been stripped away and a true character is revealed. David can not control the fruit of this person's sin. He will however reap the consequences, as all victims of slander and gossip do.

Betrayal seems to come packaged with certain dynamics from any of these five scenarios. Persons who engage in gossip as a life consuming habit are adapt at melding half-truths into a believable scenario.  When gossip is habitual I think of these people as witches / warlocks; because each time they give voice to falsehood they speak a curse into the unseen realm which gives access to satan and his demons. 

1. Slander that is unexpected, undeserved, and unprovoked. We are innocent victims.
2. A truly hurtful, life altering betrayal comes like a murderous ambush after many less hurtful instances of gossip / toxic behavior, which we have over looked in order to preserve a valued relationship.
3. The person who engages in slander and gossip is driven by jealousy and hate; seeking attention and self-importance. They fabricate out of the perceived weakness or pain of others. They are self motivated; the reasons rooted in a larger scheme or in support of a personal, and or, a corporate agenda.
4. Projection.  This is accusing someone of what you yourself are guilty of.  This is a common strategy of those who have little insight.  Projection and slander go hand in hand.
5.  The Offensive.  Slander is used as a threat.  There is bad behavior to protect, a sin to conceal, and consequences to avoid.  Threats from this quarter are dangerous and real.  When threatened with exposure a desperate person may say in essence, "I'll bury you; I'll make speaking the truth so difficult for you that honesty won't be worth the consequences." 

How we respond to slander is a measure of character.  Jesus, who was the victim of much slander never once folded His tent and went quietly into the night.  The light of truth cannot be part of the problem.  Jesus was the ultimate caustic agent for change... the Savior of the world; coming to defeat evil and giving us the power to do the same through His Holy Spirit at work in us as His hands and feet.  

...each man's work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man's work (1st Corinthians 3: 13).  Read this verse in context.

We haven't caused the sin, but we can contribute to a climate in which such behavior is tolerated. We may dislike conflict and have embraced the role of the Passive Facilitator. Read my blog of November 22, 2009; entitled: FOR EVIL TO FLOURISH TWO ROLES MUST BE ADOPTED - THE CHRISTIAN IMPERATIVE DEMANDS A THIRD

Turning the other cheek... a decision that Jesus made, just as He made the decision to verbally confront. So "turning the other cheek" is a choice we make after evaluating options and proper course of action and much prayer in seeking His will. We can't control what others do... we can't make decisions for them.  Deciding to turn the other cheek is an equally proactive decision not to be associated with cowardice or facilitating a greater evil when other potential victims are at risk.  Now forgiveness... We must forgive.  We must pray for our enemies.  Doing so is an essential manifestation of a true faith. Getting there is the challenge, but God helps us in all things.   

In David's case there was no apparent hope that this relationship could be salvaged. After we've done what we reasonably can, choosing not to have toxic behavior continue, but find ourselves continually targeted, we are free to cut bonds and set boundaries. Getting out of the way so that God can work, is often the best choice. The bonds we sever may be emotional, financial, formal or informal. We may continue to see this person in a family setting, at church or at work, but we will never again trust this person with our whole heart. Why? Because past behavior is an indication of future behavior and to ignore this is to exercise poor judgment.  

We are free to make whatever choices the Holy Spirit confirms as best (safe) for us.  That said, people are capable of profound change and I'm always optimistic as I continue to pray. 

One person cannot force a reconciliation. Reconciliation that restores what the locusts have eaten takes all parties, committed to a truth that they may not want to see or hear. It is not that we are not willing to forgive. It may be that we are waiting, even hoping to forgive as God moves us through a process of healing.  That said, forgiveness is necessary for those of us that love Jesus Christ.  We are not given the insular privilege of holding onto anger, for doing so impacts negatively our intimate fellowship with Father God.  If we want to keep hearing from the Holy Spirit we must do the work of forgiveness. 

...forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. 

"If your brother sins rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. And if he sins against you seven time's a day, and returns to you seven times, saying, 'I repent,' forgive him." (Luke 17: 4)

From the content of Psalm 55 we realize that David understands he cannot fix or control the toxic behavior of this once companion, once familiar friend. This was a person he trusted and confided in only to have his own words used / misused against him. As much as it hurts, David decides that he must set several boundaries.

The first is that David speaks the truth about the circumstances. He doesn't exaggerate, but he also does not minimize the harm caused by the betrayal. Removing himself from the line of fire in order to self-protect, he turns his cry for justice over to a God he can trust to help this person as he no longer can.  Doing this takes an act of will.  We have faith and truly believe Jesus will accomplish what we can not.  Whether we move forward to defend ourselves, withdraw to protect ourselves, or if we decide we'll never see or have contact with this person again; whatever our prayerful choice may be, we trust in the character of God. 

The rock!  His work is perfect, for all His ways are just; A God of faithfulness, and without injustice, righteous and upright is He (Deuteronomy 32: 4).  Read Psalm 91.

Even as he does this David lets us know that he will continue to pray (murmur and complain) pouring his heart out to God. David then commits to a change in the only behavior he has power over. His own. He will no longer allow this person the privilege of access, the fellowship of trust.

Finally, David surrenders this person to whatever judgment and outcome God allows. As for me, I shall call upon God, and the Lord will save me. Evening and morning and at noon, I will complain and murmur, and He will hear my voice. He will redeem my soul in peace from the battle which is against me, for they are many who strive with me (Psalm 55: 16-18).

The grief we feel in the aftermath of such hurtful, undeserved attacks may lead us into deep despair. We grieve the lost relationship and those peripheral relationships that will be breached by lies, half truths, and slander. We grieve the accumulative damage that we can't control when words form impressions and opinions in the mind of people we don't know. Such words, spoken falsely and to support a toxic agenda, are a curse. A curse can be a formal or informal invocation for Satan to harm another person. Sometimes people are used by Satan for such a purpose. They are not fully conscious, even as they give in to temptation, that they are allowing themselves to be manipulated for a preternatural purpose, agenda, and strategy. 

All slander falls into this category of spiritual warfare; and all persons who indulge in slander reflect the character of the father of lies; Satan itself.

God says this about such curses: Like a sparrow in its flitting, like a swallow in its flying, so a curse without cause does not alight (Proverbs 26: 2).

You may also want to read my Blog on Word Curses 2/5/2012.

Some day I'd like to tell you (blog) about the warfare that has surrounded the writing, publication, and eventual release of Woods End. I include this slanderous attack on my character into the category of a curse. I now call every false word to be under the blood of the cross, at the feet of Christ, before His throne, to do with as He chooses. This curse will not land! 

Pray...  "Father, let every critical word spoken by us, or against us in judgment or condemnation be removed and sent to the abyss and the opposite declaration be put in place to provide continual blessings upon us."
(part of a prayer from Ken and Sylvia Thornberg's ministry; 

God says that in the context of warfare we have safety.  The one particular incident on my mind as I write this, well I feel such grief.  All I can say to the person who prompted this blog...

All that you've said will not have the desired outcome as intended by the (lies) curses you've spoken.  I may live with the consequences, but I know that what satan means for evil God transforms for good.  My once familiar friend.  How I grieve your loss, even as I hope for reconciliation.  I'll always love you, but I will no longer put myself in your path.  The ball, so to speak, its in your court.   

Read my book Wood's End and share your thoughts!
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