Don’t Slander One Another (revised)
Representing God's Household
James 4:11 (NIV)
Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against a brother or sister or judges them speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it.
One thing that holds true about slander in all cases; it is intentional and done to cause damage to the one being slandered. In legal terms, slander is what is known as a malicious statement that brings harm. It’s made publicly and part, if not all of what’s said... is false. Today our society has laws to address this kind of act. In the days of Moses it was also included in the law, for a couple of good reasons.
Exodus 20:16 (KJV)
Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.
Having a list of regulations handed to you by God is a pretty big reason all by itself. However, in addition to making a rule about... lying in general; a special rule is added covering false statements against our fellow man. Have we ever considered why? What sets off a red flag and triggers this special emphasis from God Almighty? A clue might be found in this verse from Psalms.
Psalm 101:7 (KJV)
He that worketh deceit shall not dwell within my house: he that telleth lies shall not tarry in my sight.
There exists one who once held authority, position, and the luxury of being in the presence of God… all that changed. Now this same individual spends his time telling lies and making accusations aimed at destroying God’s own crown possession... mankind.
I ask you… do any of us really want to look like… or come close to, resembling him in any manner at all?
The Father of Lies
John 8:44 (KJV) Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
Christ came to bring “Good News” to all mankind; His life was lived in truth and devotion to God. The work of the cross was the one thing that broke the stronghold of death and destroyed the works of the devil. We now have the opportunity to belong to God’s household as His sons and daughters. Remember, no one can serve two masters, especially when the two are enemies of each other.
Why would any of us mimic Satan’s works and claim fellowship with him?
So far we’ve considered the first reason, the inappropriate and damaging aspect of God’s children siding with the enemy. A whole book could be written concerning the aspect of dishonor alone. It also doesn’t say much for loving God or our loving each other, let alone obedience. There is still the consideration that James speaks to in the latter part of the verse that addresses the subject of authority. We who are "Christ Followers" make up the “Body of Christ.” The Church is both in a role of authority as well as positioned under authority. Each role must be kept in adherence. Here, slander takes on new dimension and loses some of its legal boundaries as well. To be clear let’s review the role or reasons for the Church in the first place. There is the “Great Commission” which started Church ministry.
Matthew 28:18-20 (KJV)
And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
Even if you skim through the directives you still come away with the understanding that whatever is done, is done in the name of the Father, the Son, and or the Holy Ghost… nowhere in that do I get the name of Satan. In addition, in order to carry out the work of this ministry; the Church has been given powers and gifts specifically to achieve a certain end.
Ephesians 4:11-13 (KJV) And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
The Salt of the Earth
How does a damaging and slanderous remark edify anyone?
In everything that we learn from scripture, from Church leaders, and from the example of Christ Himself… it all speaks of encouragement and the building up of others. The Church of all places, and especially the members therein should stand as the source where the outside world takes its lead.
Matthew 5:13 (KJV)
Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.
When it comes to Church members and their involvement with each other, there should be care taken in the way we treat and regard each other. Ours is a higher standard and we can ill afford to hide behind or adhere to the rank and file standard of the world. Just because a statement is true does not give us license to publicly use it to the downfall of our brothers and sisters. We must bear in mind that we too have faults and all of us have logs in our eyes that need removing.
When Paul addressed the Romans he advised that they shouldn’t get caught up in thinking of themselves as above others in their conduct. Instead, they were to temper their outlook with sober judgments… we all would do well to follow that advice.
Romans 12:3 (KJV)
For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.
As followers of Christ, should we not exercise a measure of compassion? Our brothers and sisters need encouragement to overcome their short comings not persecution and the further bring down to shame. After all, God desires mercy and certainly Christ extended mercy throughout His ministry to the masses; both to the Jew and Gentile alike.
Let us not forget how Jesus rebuked the Pharisees in their treatment of sinners. Wasn’t their use of the law to convict people of sin, in affect the same as our regarding a truthful statement of slander as reason to take part in condemning others.
Luke 11:46 (KJV)
And he said, Woe unto you also, ye lawyers! for ye lade men with burdens grievous to be borne, and ye yourselves touch not the burdens with one of your fingers.
The work of the Church, the ministry, if for nothing else is there for the perfecting of the saints in the unity of Christ. It was the prayer of Jesus that we be one as He and the Father are one. Our faith has as a central binding condition that we strive to establish and preserve the unity that Christ came for and prayed that we would receive.
John 17:11 (KJV)
And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.
John 17:21 (KJV)
That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.
As I said, “Unity”, it’s a key piece that defines who we are, and it also gives the world reason to come to believe in Christ as the promised “Son of God.” It’s the little things we do that pile up to become a big thing. The treatment of others, especially those within the body of Christ is by no means a small thing. Listen to the news… pick up a paper; Christians are being persecuted around the world. Many are dying due to their faith in Christ. It may not have come to that where you live but at the very least we are being watched for every little thing we do. Why not make the little things... “Good Things.” What could be better for the entire world to see. Let us try to do all we can to be “Firm in our Faith”, standing in “Unity.” When the world takes its look, let it not see accusations, judgments, and slander among “God’s Household.” Instead... let's try to show only the "Good Things." Let that be the only thing that's ever seen.
In closing I leave this reminder from Paul’s letter to the Galatians.
Galatians 6:10 (KJV)
As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.