We often think of slander as something that happens in conversations we overhear other people having, never something to take place in our own.
The other day I was in the shower thinking through the busy day I had ahead of me, and praying for people who came to mind. I don’t know where the shift happened. It was so subtle. I don’t even know how far into my “conversation” I was before I realized that there was a whole other event taking place in my mind, and it had nothing to do with the day ahead, or my prayers. My mind was playing out a “Well if they” conversation. You know those scenarios we write a mental script to? Those short films where we role-play both sides of the possible coin,“If they say, then I will say,” or “If they do x,y,z, then I will do, a,b,c?”
Yep, right in the middle of my oh so humble prayer time, I began to set myself on top the throne of my life while winning the I’m right and you’re wrong competition in my mind. You may have just started your own little drama as you’re reading this. The, “She’s crazy!” dialog. It’s ok if you have, because I know I’m not alone in writing my personal sitcoms, and I know I’m not completely crazy. This is one aspect of a battle we’ve all been warned about.
“…and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” – 2 Cor. 10:5b
Before I finished my shower I realized what was happening. The accuser was casting accusations against another one of God’s created, and he was using my mind as an incubator to birth a lie.
Slander: Oral defamation, in which someone tells one or more persons an untruth about another, which untruth will harm the reputation of the person defamed. Slander is a civil wrong (tort) and can be the basis for a lawsuit.
I stopped myself from entertaining the thoughts and I asked God to forgive me. Stepping down off of my throne, I acknowledged that none of that little drama I just wrote in my mind was true. I questioned myself, “How often do I do this?” How many times do we expect a person to act, or react, according to the expectations we’ve fabricated in our thought life?
Only God knows the heart and intentions of another person. We should ask for His discernment when it comes to others, because every person does not mean to do well. It is not our place to tell “an untruth about another person which will harm their reputation,” even if we’re telling the untruth to ourselves. This is slander.
I always try to avoid engaging in conversations with others that “defame” another person. Sadly, I never realized how often I do this in the not so quiet places in my own mind. Now that I’m aware of this weapon that causes such devastating division, I can step out of the lie and choose to live in what I know is true. All the other “Well ifs,” or “What ifs,” God is fully aware of. Therefore, I can rest in His goodness and goodwill toward me, and for the other person.
I should not take this lightly. I cannot allow this foolishness and pride to be shoved to the sideline as not being one of the “big” sins. It is ugly, and it’s toxic to my heart. Look at how God classifies slander.
“For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornication, thefts, murders, adulteries, deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, SLANDER, pride and foolishness. “All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man.” – Mark 7:21-23
Slander is listed within the same classification as a murderer, among a host of other detestable traits. To think that I am capable of murdering someone’s character in the recesses of my mind grieves me deeply, and it should. To slander is to sin against my brother or sister, and against God. Slander is an evil thing, and it will defile me from within if I allow it to remain. I’m grateful for feeling remorse. I’m thankful that my loving Father corrects me when I am wrong. Now it’s my job to stay aware of my thought life, let only truth take up residency, and love others the way I long to be loved – even in those not so quiet places in my own mind.
So, what’s on your mind?