THE FIERY DART OF SLANDER
by Keith Hunt
THE ADVERSARY IS WAGING WAR AGAINST THE CHURCH OF GOD. HE IS OUT
TO DIVIDE AND DESTROY GOD'S CHILDREN. HIS WEAPONS OF ATTACK ARE
MANY - ONE OF THEM IS THE DART OF SLANDER. IN THIS ARTICLE YOU
WILL LEARN HOW TO WITHSTAND AND OVERCOME THE SLANDEROUS TONGUE.
Here is how the WORLD BOOK DICTIONARY defines slander, "l.a.
a false report meant to do harm to the good name and reputation
of another ..... b....a spoken statement tending to damage a
person's reputation. 2. the spreading of false reports .... to
talk falsely about...."
The Reader's Digest FAMILY WORD FINDER has this to say
about slander, "1 ... defamation, falsehood; malicious
fabrication, false statement, distortion, misrepresentation ....
2.... defame, malign, vilify, revile; smear, sully, soil,
besmirch .... Usage note: Slander and libel both refer to
defamation or unjustified attack on a person's reputation. A
slander is spoken: Did you bear him slander me in front of my
friends? A libel is written (published) or broadcast: I'm suing
the newspaper for libel. Remember: Slander is SPOKEN, Libel is
Slander is obviously covered by the 9th commandment which
states, "You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor".
It is a SIN to slander. Any sin begins in the heart and
those whose heart is not filled with God's Spirit will sin the
more (Luke 6:45). Some people are addicted to slander just like
some are addicted to alcohol or drugs. God speaks pretty plainly
to those who slander, "But unto the WICKED God says .... you give
your mouth to evil, and your tongue frames deceit. You sit and
speak against your brother; you slander your own mother's son "
(Ps.50:16-20 KJV, emphasis mine). Those who slander others are
manifesting an outward sign of a deeper inward sin - hatred.
David cried out, "Hold not your peace, 0 God of my praise; For
the mouth of the wicked and the mouth of the deceitful are opened
against me; they have spoken against me with a lying tongue. They
compassed me about also with words of hatred; and fought against
me without a cause" (Ps.109:1-3 KJV and emphasis mine throughout
unless otherwise stated).
Some of the people who indulge in slander are often those
whom the Bible terms as "hypocrites" - see Prov.11:9. A hypocrite
is a "play actor", pretending to be something he/she is not,
often putting on a "good front" of being a nice person or a loyal
friend, when the truth of the matter is they are knifing you in
the back when your not looking.
Those who are caught in the addiction of a slanderous tongue
shall reap a fearful end if not repented of; "Why boastest you
yourself in mischief ..... Your tongue devises mischief; like a
sharp razor, working deceitfully. You love evil more than good;
and lying rather than to speak righteousness ... You love all
devouring words, 0 you deceitful tongue. God shall likewise
destroy you for ever, He shall take you away, and pluck you out
of the land of the living...." (Ps.52:1-5).
SLANDER AMONG THE PEOPLE OF GOD
Because slander is such an evil and destructive sin, you
would think that God's people would have little trouble with it,
that slanderous talk among the children of God would be
practically non existent. But such was not the case in the early
New Testament Church of God.
Peter found it necessary to say this in his letter to the
elect, "..... be you all of one mind, having compassion one of
another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: Not
rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but
contrariwise blessing .... For he that will love life and see
good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips
that they speak no guile: Let him eschew evil, and do good; let
him seek peace and ensue it"(1 Pet.3:8-11). Paul had to tell the
Church at Ephesus, "Let all bitterness and indignation and wrath
(passion, rage, bad temper) and resentment (anger, animosity) and
quarrelling (brawling, clamor, contention) and slander (evil
speaking, abusive or blasphemous language) be banished from you,
with all malice (spite, ill will or baseness of any kind) "
(Eph.4:31 Amplified Bible). Now fancy being a part of that
congregation with all that going on. It must have been a problem
with some or Paul would not have admonished them to banish such
conduct from their lives. Paul instructed Titus to, "Remind
people ..... to slander or abuse or speak evil of no one.."(Titus
3:1-2 Amplified Bible). Peter was inspired to write, "So be done
with every trace of wickedness (depravity, malignity) and all
deceit and insincerity (pretence, hypocrisy) and grudges (envy,
jealousy) and slander and evil speaking of every kind" (1 Pet.2:1
Paul told Titus to speak those things that were sound
doctrine to the aged men and women. One of those points of sound
doctrine was for the women to avoid slander. Verse three of Titus
2 is translated this way by the Amplified Bible, "Bid the older
women similarly to be reverent and devout in their deportment, as
becomes those engaged in sacred service, not slanderers or slaves
to drink. They are to give good counsel and be teachers of what
is right and noble." Paul also told Timothy that deacons and
deaconesses were not to be doubletongued or slanderers (1 Tim.
The people that James wrote to also had problems with
slander. He had to admonish them, "(My) brethren, do not speak
evil about or accuse one another. He that maligns a brother or
judges his brother is maligning and criticizing the Law and
judging the Law.... (James 4:11 Amplified Bible). The word malign
and slander are synonyms.
Libel, we learned earlier, is with the pen - Slander is with
the tongue. While we are in the book of James it will be well
worth our time to again read what James had to say about that
"little member" of ours - the tongue - in chapter 3 and verses 2
to 18. The little tongue can indeed be a "world of iniquity"
reaping great havoc upon peoples lives if not controlled. Notice
these sober verses of scripture - Job.5:21; Ps.140:3; Ecc.10:11;
Prov.11:9; Ecc.10:13; Matt.12:36.
EXAMPLES OF SLANDER
The Bible has many examples of the slanderous tongue, and
what the result was for the innocent and/or for the slanderer.
Joseph, one of the twelve sons of Jacob or Israel, found
himself in Egypt as the servant of Potiphar - an officer of
Pharaoh. This officer was a wise man and soon recognized that God
was with Joseph in all that he put his hand to do. Soon Joseph
was made overseer over the entire household of Potiphar. There
was complete trust on the part of Potiphar towards Joseph. Then
things began to turn against Joseph - pick it up in Gen.39:7,
"And it came to pass after these things, that his master's wife
cast her eyes upon Joseph; and she said, Lie with me." Potiphar's
wife wanted Joseph to go to bed with her. But he refused saying,
"There is none greater in this house than I; neither has he kept
back any thing from me but you, because you are his wife: how
then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?" verse
9. Joseph was completely innocent - she was tempting him to have
sex with her but he was having nothing to do with it - he was not
going to hurt his master or sin against his God.
But this woman was not going to give up that easy, she day
by day, tried to tempt Joseph into bed with her. Then one day
when he was alone in the house she caught hold of him and tried
to force her way upon him. Joseph pulled himself away and ran
like a fox being chased by hounds, out of the house, but she was
successful in hanging on to one of his outer garments as he fled
Oh boy, was she angry and wild, like a cat on a hot tin
roof. She was going to get his wagon. How dare he refuse her
advances. She summoned the other servants and to them she cried
"rape", verses 13 to 15. When her husband came home she again
started her slander against Joseph (v.16-18).
Potiphar believed the story his wife told him about Joseph.
It would seem he never went to the horses mouth to get the truth
from Joseph, but with anger cast Joseph into prison (v.19-20).
What Potiphar's wife had said about Joseph was a complete lie - a
100% false story she made up because she was hating him for not
complying with her wishes. People will do drastic things when
filled with resentment and hate. The consequences of this slander
for Joseph was a prison sentence. Yet God was able to turn about
this hardship and trial for Joseph into further honor and glory.
The ultimate result was one of triumph for Joseph, as the
following chapters of Genesis show.
There were times when God dealt with slander in no uncertain
way. One of those times was when God told Moses to send men to
search out the land of Canaan. This story is found in Numbers
chapter 13 - 14:38. These men were to spy out the land, to see if
the people who dwelt there were strong or weak, whether the land
was good or bad, if the people dwelt in tents or strong holds.
They were to see if the land was "fat or lean" and if it
contained wood or not (Num.13:1-20). Forty days they searched out
the land and then returned. They brought back proof that the land
was flowing with milk and honey - much luscious fruit. But when
it came to describing the men of the land, they all except Joshua
and Cabel lied and greatly exaggerated their strength and
stature. They said, "...ALL the people that we saw in it are men
of GREAT STATURE. And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak,
which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as
grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight "(Num.13:32,33). Yes,
there probably were some men of great stature, but certainly not
ALL as they tried to make out. And the sons of Anak maybe were
giants, but they greatly exaggerated in their "grasshopper"
Slander is not only out and out lies, but also it includes
exaggerations. So effective was the slander of these men, the
whole camp of Israel save a few, rose up to murmuring and
complaints against God, to the point where the Lord was ready to
"smite them with the pestilence and disinherit them" and make of
Moses a great nation - chapter 14 verses 1-12. Moses interceded
on behalf of Israel so the Lord changed His mind about the
destruction He thought to bring upon those faithless and
rebellious people. Yet they who were led astray by the slander
and murmured would be punished - they would die in the wilderness
and not enter the promised land (verses 14-35).
As for those men who led Israel to sin against the Lord, it
is written, "And the men, which Moses sent to search the land,
who returned, and made all the congregation to murmur against
him, by bringing up a SLANDER upon the land, Even those men that
did bring up the evil report upon the land, died by the plague
before the Lord (verses 36,37).
The evil results of slander can be devastating!
Notice how God told Israel to deal with slander from a new
husband against his bride:
"If a man takes a wife and, after lying with her, dislikes her
and slanders her and gives her a bad name, saying, 'I married
this woman, but when I approached her, I did not find proof of
her virginity,' then the girl's father and mother shall bring
proof that she was a virgin to the town elders at the gate. The
girl's father will say to the elders, 'I gave my daughter in
marriage,to this man, but he dislikes her. Now he has slandered
her and said, I did not find your daughter to be a virgin, but
here is proof of my daughter's virginity.' Then her parents shall
display the cloth before the elders of the town, and the elders
shall take the man and punish him. They shall fine him a hundred
shekels of silver and give them to the girl's father, because
this man has given an Israelite virgin a bad name. She shall
continue to be his wife; he must not divorce her as long as he
lives " (Deut.22:13-19 NIV children's edition).
Slander is not "just a little white lie" to be taken
lightly; it can have very grave results for the person being
Ahab was king in Samaria, and one day he coveted the
vineyard close to his palace that belonged to a man called
Naboth. Ahab asked Naboth to sell or exchange his vineyard for
another, so Ahab could have his. But he refused to do so and Ahab
went home and sulked (1 Kings 21:1-4). It was not long until his
wife Jezebel found out why Ahab was sulking, and came up with a
plan that would secure the vineyard Ahab wanted.
"So she wrote letters in Ahab's name, placed his seal on
them, and sent them to the elders and nobles who lived in
Naboth's city with him. In those letters she wrote:
'Proclaim a day of fasting and seat Naboth in a prominent
place among the people. But seat two scoundrels opposite him
and have them testify that he has cursed both God and the
king. Then take him out and stone him to death.' So the
elders and nobles who lived in Naboth's city did as Jezebel
directed in the letters she had written to them. They
proclaimed a fast and seated Naboth in a prominent place
among the people. Then two scoundrels came and sat opposite
him and brought charges against Naboth before the people,
saying, 'Naboth has cursed both God and the king.' So
they took him outside the city and stoned him to death. Then
they sent word to Jezebel: 'Naboth has been stoned and is
dead.'"(1 Kings 21:8-14 NIV children's edition).
The saying "sticks and stones can break my bones but names
will never hurt me" may be true in one sense, but then again in
another sense - names of slander - they can kill - literally!
Slander and libel come from a heart and mind filled with
resentment, animosity, and hate, and/or a heart of jealousy or
The sinless one Himself - the perfect one - our Savior
Christ Jesus, did not escape the slanderers tongue. He was
charged by some to be a vinebibber (alcoholic) and a gluttonous
man - Matt.11:19. He was accused of being possessed by a devil -
John 8:48,52; 10:20. Some claimed Jesus was seditious - Luke
22:65; 23:5. And He was said to have blasphemed - Mark 14:64;
Of course none of these accusations were true, yet some
carnal minded people told others that Jesus was guilty of these
things. They probably were willing to "cross by heart and hope to
die" to those they told these stories to, and no doubt many who
listened to them pricked up their ears and said, "Is that so, I
did not know that, thank you so much for telling me. Now I know
to stay away from that evil man."
Those who believed such false statements about Christ,
probably never thought of going to Jesus Himself and asking Him
if such stories were true. Instead of getting it straight from
the horses mouth, they merrily went their way being sure they now
had the truth about this guy who claimed to be the Son of God.
One of the evils of slander or libel is that OTHERS WILL
BELIEVE IT as "the gospel truth" and will never find the real
truth - they will believe a lie and have pleasure in
unrighteousness (2 Thes.2:7-12).
Many a true minister of God, while zealously doing the work
of the Lord, have been accused by their enemies of this or that
evil, and/or preaching false doctrines. This happened to Paul
many times in his life - sometimes the slander against him nearly
resulted in his death.
When Paul was in Jerusalem on one occasion, ".... the Jews
which were of Asia, when they saw him in the temple, stirred up
all the people, and laid hands on him. Crying out, 'Men of
Israel, help: This is the man, that teaches all men every where
against the people, and the law, and this place(Paul was
slandered as to what he taught): and FURTHER brought Greeks also
into the temple, and has polluted this holy place(slandered
concerning his actions)'. For they had seen before with him in
the city Trophimus an Ephesian, whom they SUPPOSED(in the
imagination of their dark twisted minds) that Paul had brought
into the temple. And all the city was moved, and the people ran
together: and they took Paul, and drew him out of the temple: and
forthwith the doors were shut. And as they vent about to kill
him(slander resulting in a lynch mob), tidings came unto the
chief captain of the band, that ALL Jerusalem was IN AN
UPROAR. Who immediately took soldiers and centurions, and ran
down unto them: and when they(the lynch mob) saw the chief
captain and the soldiers, they left BEATING of Paul" (Acts
21:27-32 emphasis and comments mine).
If the chief captain had not intervened, Paul would probably
have been killed. All because some jealous, hate filled, power
hungry men had slandered his name. Slander is nothing to be
THE EFFECTS OF SLANDER
As we have seen, defamation of character, falsehood,
malicious fabrication, distortion, misrepresentation - in a
single word, SLANDER - can have deadly results. Grievous wounds
can be the end result of slander; "The words of a talebearer
(those who indulge in slander and libel) are as wounds, they go
down into the innermost parts of the belly" (Prov.18:8 added
comment mine). Many who have been slandered can attest to the
fact that literal physical sickness can come upon the innocent
party from the results of the falsehood that many believe and the
actions they take.
Those that indulge in malicious fabrication and talebearing,
will usually cause much strife among people; "Where no wood is,
there the fire goes out: so where there is no talebearer, the
strife ceases" (Prov.26:20).
We have already seen from some of the examples left us in
the Bible about slander, that physical death can be the end
result for the one being slandered. King David came near to
experiencing this effect of one of Satan's darts. He wrote in
Psalm 31 and verse 13, "For I have heard the slander of many:
fear was on every side: while they took counsel together against
me, they devised to take away my life."
This wounderous and deadly arrow from the bow of the
adversary, can cause discord among brethren and separate friends;
"A froward man soweth strife: and a whisperer separateth chief
friends" (Prov. 16:28).
So devastatingly harmful is a false statement/distortion - a
slander/libel - that it effected the list of seven abominations
that God hates!
"These six things does the Lord hate: yes, seven are an
abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands
that shed innocent blood, An heart that devises wicked
imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false
witness that speaks lies, and he that sows discord among
Notice - slander/libel - is covered TWICE in those seven
abominations that the Lord hates.
THE END RESULT OF THE SLANDERER
To those who are wise and will listen, God says, "He that
hides hatred with lying lips, and he that utters a slander, is a
FOOL" (Prov.10:18). Why is a person foolish who partakes of the
slandering tongue? The Lord tells you why in verse 21 of this
same chapter in Proverbs, "The lips of the righteous feed many:
but FOOLS die for want of wisdom." The end result of those who
will not repent of using slander and libel is - DEATH!
Jeremiah was sent by God to warn Judah of death and
captivity if they did not repent of their sins, but they would
not listen or believe the words he spoke. Instead they devised to
attack him with their tongues, no doubt this included maligning
him, defamation of character, besmirching, and false statements.
This is what is written in Jeremiah 18, "They said, 'Come, let's
make plans against Jeremiah; for the teaching of the law by the
priest will not be lost, nor will counsel from the wise, nor the
word from the prophet. So come, let's attack him with our tongues
and pay no attention to anything he says'(verse 18). In response
to this Jeremiah cried out to God, 'Listen to me, O Lord; hear
what my accusers are saying ..... Remember that I stood before
you and spoke in their behalf to turn your wrath away from them
..... they have dug a pit to capture me and have hidden snares
for my feet. But you know, 0 Lord, all their plots to kill me. Do
not forgive their crimes or blot out their sins from your sight.
Let them be overthrown before you; deal with them in the time of
your anger'"(verses 19-23).
God will destroy with death those who will not repent of
practicing slander, for it is written, "Whoso privily slanders
his neighbor, him will I cut off"(Ps.101:5). And, "Blessed are
they that do His commandments, that they may have right to the
tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.
For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and
murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loves and makes a lie"
WHAT THE CHRISTIAN CAN DO ABOUT SLANDER
1. DO NOT LISTEN TO SLANDER
King Saul of Israel often tried to kill David (the man God
had chosen to replace Saul as king over Israel). This led David
to become a fugitive on the run. On one occasion it was told Saul
that David and his men were in the wilderness of Engedi (1 Sam.
24:1). As we read on in this 24th chapter of first Samuel, we
find Saul stopping at a cave when nature called him to relieve
himself. What he didn't know at the time was that David and his
men were inside the cave. David's men wanted to kill Saul but
David would have no part of such an idea, saying, "...The Lord
forbid that I should do this thing unto my master, the Lord's
anointed, to stretch forth mine hand against him, seeing he is
the anointed of the Lord"(verse 6). David did cut off a portion
of Saul's outer garment without him knowing about it.
There was never a time when David was seeking to kill or
hurt Saul, yet some had told Saul that David was planning to
physically harm him. Notice what David said to Saul after he had
left the cave, "David also arose afterward, and went out of the
cave, and cried after Saul, saying, 'My lord the king.' And when
Saul looked behind him, David stooped with his face to the earth,
and bowed himself. And David said to Saul, 'Wherefore hearest you
men's words, saying, Behold, David seeks your hurt?'" (verses
Saul was willing to listen to people saying false statements
about David. And in essence, David was telling Saul not to listen
to such slander.
The Christian should not entertain for one moment, known
slanderous statements about another person. And if it is not
known if such statements are true or not, the Christian should
not listen to second or third hand gossip, but should if he feels
it absolutely necessary, go directly to the horses mouth - to the
person themselves for the truth.
2. THE SLANDERER MAY HAVE TO BE REBUKED
"The north wind drives away rain: so does an angry
countenance a backbiting tongue" (Prov.25:23).
There may arise a time when a slanderer must be dealt with
in a loving but firm manner.
3. A CHRISTIAN SHOULD KEEP HIMSELF FROM SLANDER AND LIBEL
"Keep your tongue from evil, and your lips from speaking
If every single person entering the Church of God was truly
and deeply filled with the Holy Spirit at all times, there would
never be any slander in the body of Christ. But the truth of the
matter is, unconverted people do sit in the Churches of God, and
converted people are not always filled with God's Spirit.
Nevertheless, as Christians we are admonished and instructed
over and over again by the word of the Lord, to control what
comes out of our mouth, to put a break or a straight jacket on
We are instructed to, "Let your speech be always with grace,
seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer
every man" (Col.4:6).
If we remember that it is from the heart and mind of a
person that the mouth speaks, and if we fill that heart and mind
with truth and goodness, we will have little or no trouble with
having a slanderous tongue.
As the apostle Paul said, "Finally, brethren, whatsoever
things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things
are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are
lovely, whatsoever things are of a good report; if there be any
virtue, and if there be any praise, THINK ON THESE THINGS "
(Phil.4:8 emphasis mine).
Written in 1991