How can you properly respond to lies and slander when you are confronted by this evil, and how are you to deal biblically with the resulting confusion, hurt, and anger? Every one of us is familiar with the carnal ways we desire to respond and I think sometimes we do so because we have never made a plan to take a different direction.
The best time to make such a plan is before you are in the situation. As a part of your plan you need to take into account some very basic things:
Rule #1 about people is that we don’t like to be told “no.”
Rule #2 – We want what we want and usually are willing to go to great lengths to get it.
Rule #3 seems to be that if we cant get what we want the nice way, we resort to any means possible. This is evident by the fact that there are robberies, murders, and rapes in society. (Jas. 4:2)
Rule #4 – Some people are just mean and ornery because they do not know Christ. We cannot expect an unbeliever to act like a believer! They are acting out of their nature. (John 8:44)
Rule #5- Christians still sin in this way (unfortunately).
When people are denied what they want, they may begin to attack you. Sometimes they drag up every bad thing they can remember you have done, and then they add to the pile by inventing things, slandering your character, even resorting to telling bald faced lies about you. The people who are important to you hear about them as your name is dragged through the mud and your reputation is assaulted. You are baffled by the whole thing!
The first question you always ask is “why.” Why would someone want to hurt you in this way? This is not a question to spend much time meditating on! When it involves an unbeliever any of the above 4 Rules will cover it, I am afraid. When it involves a believer (and sadly enough it does happen) you have to remember that when a Christian participates in such behavior it may be out of ignorance. That may be hard to believe, but the person talking about you may not have all the facts, they may be getting faulty information about you and/or the situation.
Of course, it could also be possible that the person is truly just sinning against you. Regardless of the reason for their lies and slander you are responsible for how you respond to it. Our first response is not usually righteous. Refrain from adding to the sinfulness of this situation and take a deep breath or two and then think biblically about this situation.
The important question you must ask yourself is this: “How can I respond in a way that glorifies God?” It does help to remember what Jesus said,
“Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also. John 15:20.
Jesus makes it clear that we should expect to be hated because we are living lives that are not in synch with the rest of this world. We are the anti-type, the anomaly. Our morals and values are different than those of unbelievers and our priorities are those of the Lord.
Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul. Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation. 1 Peter 2:11-12
Second, remember that we seek to glorify Him rather than living for ourselves (Col. 1:10). Oh! It is so very hard in those moments to push back against the flesh, when everything inside you screams to be let loose and reply in kind to the treatment you have received! The heart (thoughts, beliefs, emotions, desires) is full of all the wrong kinds of responses!
(“For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders
.” Matthew 15:19) so following your heart is the wrong course of action! If you want to glorify God in how you respond (1 Pet. 2:1) then you must look to Christ for the example.
For this finds favor, if for the sake of conscience toward God a person bears up under sorrows when suffering unjustly. For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God. For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth; and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously; 1 Peter 2:19-23
God has enabled you through the ministry of the Holy Spirit to bear the pain of unjust suffering. While it is a blow to the pride (which is also a good thing) to not retaliate it is the right response. You can choose to accept by faith that this trial is a part of God’s methods of growing and changing you, and that these things are also conforming you to the image and likeness of Christ.