June 17, 2011

Holiness and Slander

Ephesians 4:17-32

Rid yourselves of … slander of every kind.
1 Peter 2:1


The Bible declares that “the tongue has the power of life and death” (Proverbs 18:21). We have all experienced the pain of someone twisting our words, turning our lives into an object of gossip, or openly defaming our name. We would much prefer to taste the joy that comes through words of encouragement.

Slander is the evidence of a malicious spirit. It willfully misrepresents the truth. It defies Jesus’ teaching to treat others as we would treat ourselves. It aims to make ourselves look better than others. Ultimately, to slander is to share in the “native language” of the father of lies, Satan. No wonder the Bible says, “The Lord detests lying lips, but he delights in people who are trustworthy” (Proverbs 12:22).

The child of God, however, commits to speak publicly and privately with words that have the power of life. One historic Christian confession states: “God’s will is that I never give false testimony against anyone” and that “I should do what I can to guard and advance my neighbor’s good name.” I cannot control another’s slanderous words. But I can choose to protect the integrity of all by using Christian speech.

“Those who guard their lips preserve their lives, but those who speak rashly will come to ruin” (Proverbs 13:3). Will you commit to holy speech?

Lord, I am a person of unclean lips; please cleanse me. May I speak encouragement, not slander; praises, not curses. Use my lips for your glory. Amen.

About the author — Calvin Hoogendoorn

Rev. Calvin Hoogendoorn serves as senior pastor of First Christian Reformed Church in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Previously he served two churches in Illinois. He and his wife, Carla, have three daughters.

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