God Hates Defamation, Slander, Malice…what about you?
Let me ask a simple question. Are you a Christian? You may well say yes. If you go to church then you are a Christian…in name for sure. But perhaps that is too broad a question, how about this… are you in Christ? You might say “well I was baptized into his name so that must mean I am in Christ.” But, Jesus tells us that not everyone who says Lord, Lord will enter the kingdom of heaven.
What am I getting at? Let’s read 1 john 4:20:
If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen.
If you do not love your brother, then you do not Love God. If you do not love God then, well…I am sorry to tell you, you are not in Christ. Let me make this very clear. What we think and say about others, especially about those in Christ, is fundamental to our beliefs, to our Christlikeness….it is not fundamental to our salvation since our salvation is based on faith alone in Christ alone…but faith without works is dead…and if the works of your heart are evil…well, I will let you figure that one out.
If your heart is right before God, if the spirit indwells you, you’re going to see other believers as brothers and sisters in Christ. In Christ! This doesn’t mean that you don’t admonish in love when sin is there. It doesn’t mean you don’t discipline according to Matthew 18 when discipline is called for. What it does mean is you don’t lie, and you don’t gossip, and you don’t backbite and you don’t slander and you don’t defame their character maliciously. What it means is you don’t try to manipulate others to get your way, especially by defamation. I am going to make a bold statement here. But it is a biblical statement. If you do these things, if it is your life’s pattern to defame, to despise, to hate, to backbite, to gossip, to slander, to go around telling bad things about others, then there is every reason to question whether your salvation is real.
There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers.
This kind of talk doesn’t belong in the mouth of a Christian, one who is in Christ. It undoubtedly has no place within the life of the believer and we can see this in the book of James. He wants us to understand that when he says:
“Speak not evil one another, brethren.”
This is not for us to do, we should never indulge in this. In fact, the Bible says that Jesus Christ when He was reviled, reviled not again. He was hated but did not return the favour! We should never even retaliate to hatred. Matthew 5:11 says,
“Bless those that curse you.”
The Bible tells us time and again to do good to those that maliciously use you, those that speak evil against you, those that slander you. Return good for their evil.
We have all lied, we have all slandered, we have all gossiped. But we are forgiven if we are in Christ, if we repent, and that means turning from sin and turning toward God in faith. We have all been the victim of this sin, some more than others. I have had it happen to me far more times than I would like to have it happen. I still have it happen – I guess that is a byproduct of being an outspoken and public Christian. I’ve had just about all that I need of slander, defamation and gossip. When people speak lies against you, malicious slanderous lies, you realize that the source of all of this is pride, demonic temptation, envy, jealousy, hate that all ultimately winds up in slander and defamation. I am not going to sugar coat and say that it is easy, it is not. And that hurts – it really does. But in Christ there is comfort. Pray for those who slander you, and seek comfort in Christ and from those who are in Christ. Surround yourself with believers.
God hates this sin. It’s a contemptible sin. People who live like this and who talk like this are in great danger. Everyone makes mistakes; we all fall once in a while, but let me make it very simple for you. If you do these things on a regular basis, if this is the pattern of your life, if you have a target in your sights, a person whom you want to destroy, be it your brother or sister or daughter or the mother of your grandchild…you should probably check to make your calling and election sure. How can I say this? Because the ones who love God love the ones God loves, as we read in 1 John. If you are in Christ, you will love those who are in Christ. You will love all covenant children of God – even the backbiters and slanderers. Stop your evil ways. Stop bashing your brother, your mother, your daughter in law, your neighbour, and repent. Repent. Turn from the evil and turn to God. Pray. There is forgiveness in Christ. Apart from Christ there is death, but in him all is forgiven, all is restored.