Today we conclude the series on how to respond to lies and
slander. This continues to be a topic
that generates a large number of searches in the search engines on the
internet. There must be a large number of people wanting to know how to respond
biblically to such attacks, and for this I am thankful.
If this is your first visit on this topic, I suggest you go
back a few days and catch parts 1 and 2.
We will pick up today’s final installment where we left off yesterday.
Bless those who
persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15Rejoice
with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. 16Be
of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate
with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation.17Never
pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all
possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. 19Never
take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “VENGEANCE IS MINE, IWILL REPAY,” says
the Lord. 20“BUT IF YOUR ENEMY IS HUNGRY, FEED HIM, AND IF HE IS THIRSTY, GIVE HIM A DRINK; FOR IN SO DOING YOU WILL HEAP BURNING COALS ON HIS HEAD.” 21Do
not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:14-21
v 17 - Never pay back
evil for evil to anyone. This is an imperative statement, meaning it
is a command. Refusing to pay back evil for evil is at the heart of the Christian
life! Our response to evil is display goodness to those who have afflicted us, for
that is how our Savior responded.
Never means under no circumstances or at any
time pay back evil for evil. In order to
keep this command you must refrain from slandering the person or people who
have done it to you. You must not lie or gossip about them. You are to put blessing
them (v 14) into practice.
How can you bless them? Repay their evil with kindness, go
out of your way to speak a good word to them, see if there is a way you can be
of help to them, or simply smile and greet them when you see them. Above all, pray for them! Pray that God would
minister to them and convict them of their sin that they will be restored in
their relationships with others.
v 18 - If possible, so
far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. The hard truth is that
despite your best efforts, you may never be at peace with all men because
relationships are a two way street. In my assignment scenario (from the
previous post) the person being slandered and lied about was really innocent
and not even involved in the situation. We live in a very fallen world, and we
are often dealing with unbelievers who do not want to be at peace with us. The
“If possible” part simply means that we do our best in the situation to be like
When you have been attacked your pride may be deeply
wounded. No one that I know of wants to be thought badly of by other people but
it is a fact of living in a fallen world.
Your pride is certainly affected when you think you are
being denied the respect you believe you are due. Often this is because we have
an inflated view of self and think people should respect us “because of who we
are.” This is seen when a person thinks
they deserve better than what they get, or when they think they are worthy of
honor and it is denied. This is nothing more than pride and it is wrongly labeled self-esteem by the
modern psychological movement.
It is not a bad thing for your pride to be wounded. God is always in the
business of removing pride from the human heart because He hates it! (1 Peter
5:5) Pride draws us away from God and when we get too much of it we seem to
believe that we don’t have a need for God or His wisdom as much as when we have
been taken down a few notches (Gal. 6:3; Rom. 12:3).
It is hard to hear people say horrible things to you and
about you and while I am not for one moment promoting you place yourself in
situations where you will be a verbal punching bag, I am saying that there will
be times you must allow it to pass you by without response (Phil. 2:3-4).
Reading Friends, all of this brings us back to the foot of
the cross. Righteous responses like those we have looked at these past two
blogs are impossible apart from the Holy Spirit. They are impossible unless we
realize that the ground is level at the foot of the cross, and you and I are
just as capable of the lies, gossip and slander that may have been thrown our
way. We must look at our own heart and examine ourselves in the light of His
Word and only by His grace determine to apply these truths to our lives that
they will overflow into the lives of others.