No weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and this is their vindication from me,” declares the Lord. Isaiah 54:17 NIV
The world’s hatred of what is right and true can be real enough, but God’s love is far greater, and if we know we are His, He is for us1. This “heritage of the servants of the Lord” translates for believers into the new covenant in Jesus, which is founded on even better promises2
In our society generally, murder has provoked strong public reaction and a demand for severe sentencing. Strangely, murder of a person’s reputation is not seen in the same way, although strongly forbidden throughout the NT gospels and letters.
Yet false witness is such a fundamental evil it is called out in the Ten Commandments3. In the NT we find slander paired with malice as evils to avoid, and the fact that almost every letter to churches warns against this, shows it to be common even in Christian communities4.
Sooner or later we will encounter the reaction of someone who feels threatened or just jealous, in harsh and untrue words. Everyone who aspires to leadership tastes the bitterness of betrayal from someone who should have been counted a supporter.
Moses faced this on a number of occasions, notably in Korah’s ‘insolence’ (NIV)5.King David endured this from one of his sons who would gather support from travellers entering the city gate, by suggesting that his justice was better than his father’s6.
Today, politicians and sometimes civil servants face the subtle and difficult to defend attacks of ‘briefing against’.
Unlike physical assault, or direct confrontation, slander evades debate or defence. It is also the favoured tactic of the devil whose name, Satan, means accuser or slanderer7.
If we belong to Jesus, or even if we are on a righteous path, we are a target and the enemy of our souls, making use of suitably compliant and undiscerning people, will use this weapon to discredit or if possible, destroy what is God-given. It is “the heritage of the servants of the Lord” — it goes with the territory, as we say.
However, if we are the Lord’s and submitted to Him and His way, lies will be revealed, truth will come out and God’s order will prevail. Not immediately — there has to be a process of turning and realisation. The kingdom of God is no spiritual dictatorship, even if at times we wish it was! There are the twin currents of freewill and grace flowing, and those who have been deceived and used by Satan need every opportunity to find the way back into God’s will. But the promise of Scripture is that the weapon of evil words will not prevail and those assaulted by them will be enabled to set the record straight so that truth can bring healing to all.
Who has talked about you untruthfully to others? Who has been a false accuser? Now do the very hard but powerfully Jesus-like thing of forgiving them — extending to them the grace that God extended to you when He invited you into his kingdom. Not waiting for an apology, or confronting them personally — this is between you and God.
Father, You know what has been said (outline the accusation and how it made you feel).
Now I choose to forgive (name them) without condition.
Whatever compensation would be fair, I cancel it.
I thank You for Your grace to me, and so I extend grace to (name them)
And I choose to call down Your blessing on them.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.