What is slander? It is a maligning of good character by false accusations. It is morally wrong and often punishable by law, if the one who was maligned can prove it. Then it begs to question, how can one slander someone whom they do not know, do not see, and of whom they are largely unaware? Or why would one slander someone to whom they claim undying love and devotion? These are all questions which I will address and for which I hope to give a reasonable answer.
I will start by saying this, over the years I have observed that we humans are very duplicitous and complicated, and that negativity seems to be the main bent of the fleshly “character”. Add to that the fact that we tend to hide our fleshly negativity, or to make excuses for it, in Religious Doctrine (which may or may not have anything to do with what God actually said) for a plethora of reasons – and the resulting mistrust is expressed in an unwitting form of slander. The bottom line is that we simply attribute things to God for which He is not responsible, and these misconceptions hinder our trust of Him. Largely we subconsciously do this to avoid taking responsibility for our own sinful condition, and the resulting unwise actions. But, whether done consciously or subconsciously, this does not work, and is not recommended. And yet, in our selective ignorance it is a widespread occurrence. Even among the religious, sometimes especially so.
We make this mistake due to our tendency to attribute to Him the attributes of our own lower, fallen nature, which is conditional, finite and constitutes a mix of good and evil. When He has said, plainly and repeatedly, that there is no evil in Him - at all. Our skepticism comes partly from the fact that we are not given a clear picture of evil's origin – which still remains a mystery. Our info on that is a bit sketchy, but if it would benefit us to know, or if our finite minds could fathom it, I am sure He would have shared! We know that there was evidently an insurgence in His Kingdom, and His minister of music led a rebellion to unseat Him. Since the information which we have also implies that this being was “created”, then we are left in a fog about how his created being got hold of this rebellious streak. This conundrum seems to produce doubt about God's goodness.
But think about that for a minute. Why would we want to worship a petty, vengeful idiot, such as “Zeus” is portrayed to be, for example? How could we ever trust such a liar? And yet most of the “believing” world assigns that kind of negativity to God, and most fear Him in a way that is not merely reverential. Though they hide their doubt and unbelief behind that veneer most times. Rather, they exhibit the kind of fear that causes them to hide from Him. But what we do not seem to get is that it is the sin, which runs in the background of the fallen nature, which is casting those shadowy images onto Him, and which is distorting His light. It is not His actual shadow which we are seeing. We do not see clearly.
Those who do not “believe” conclude from these shadowy mysteries (such as the origins of evil and other things of which we have not yet attained understanding) that He is either a figment of a disturbed human imagination, or that, if He exists at all, He is merely an extension of the human psyche – and a very unstable, untrustworthy fellow. But in that case He wouldn't be all powerful, or all knowing, or eternal, or even very useful! Man-made idols are as finite and limited as their creators – and mankind has an inherent need to believe in a creator who is bigger than we are! But bigger isn't better if the motivation toward us is not altruistic! And not believing that He is who He says He is will eventually manifest in slanderous accusations, which cause us to keep Him at a great distance. If we are to really worship Him, then, we must find and embrace the Truth about Him, and be able to cultivate real trust in Him; there is no other way!
Slander comes easily to humans, trust is a bit harder to generate. We have an anti-God “bent” running in our “back-grounds”. And this “sin-virus” constantly twists what we know, and feeds us faulty information. It is constantly producing “pop-ups” of false evidence which contradicts what God has said! And we tend to believe the best of our own motives – but exercise much skepticism toward others, including our God. For example, in matters of judgment of sin and how that plays out in our lives, any devastation is often viewed as “God somehow paying us back for our bad choices”. That is almost correct, but not quite. It is true that we have a choice. And it is true that bad choices end in judgment. And it is true that God set that judgment in motion. But it is also true that God made a way out for us – a way to avoid making those bad choices - so that judgment could be avoided! Why then are we blaming Him for the consequences which we chose for ourselves, with our own free will?! Convenient but insane!
This is like blaming the policeman for our ticket, when we were clearly speeding and he caught us dead to rights. He is merely handing out what has already been decreed. He did not cause you to speed with his imaginary “mind-powers”, so that he could rush in and give you a ticket! He is merely executing what has been agreed upon as law in the society in which we participate. Laws are boundaries. Good laws are for our well-being. We know not to speed. We know that if we choose to speed there can be consequences. Sometimes it isn't only a ticket! Sometimes there are much more severe consequences - we could wreck and hurt, or kill, ourselves and others – or at the least cause unnecessary damage to our already expensive vehicle, and drive our insurance out the roof! None of these results are anyone's fault but our own. But we tend to blame anything and everything for our own stupidity and stubborn resistance to boundaries! And this is how humanity, even supposedly spiritual ones, tend to act, especially toward God. What we can not explain or control we blame on Him!
Sad but true. But this is the real deal. From the get-go He warned us about the evil that was lurking just out of sight, and He still does that if we care to pay attention. There is a righteous standard whereby, if we choose to follow it, our standard of living is upgraded. However, the default mode for the fallen human nature is inherently sinful, anti-God, anti-good, and pro-evil – and it has lost its God-created ability to discern between them.
This is why we need a mediator, a champion, a rescuer, a redeemer, one who is willing to pay the ransom for our release from captivity to a wily foe - a “Savior”.
We humans tend to get hung up on the things which we can not explain to our satisfaction, it is a glitch in reasoning caused by the sin-virus. We therefore tend to overlook what is plainly explained to us. It just can't be that simple right? But it is. There are two choices and only two choices. Life or Death – which can be named or exhibited as Fear or Faith, Trust or unrighteous skepticism. We can be unwittingly superstitious, or determinedly faith-oriented. Faith leads to Life, and Fear will chase us to the grave.
Superstition is based in fear and is a profound belief in the power of evil, while faith is a profound belief in the power of Good to overcome evil! And by extension, therefore, faith is belief in an all-knowing, all-loving, all-powerful God. Faith is the means by which we encounter, and interact with, the God of the universe, our creator and benefactor. Superstition is limited to this temporary realm – erroneously called “life”. “Life” without faith, however, is merely the process of dying. Fear incubates death. It suffocates life.
Superstition, again, is based in fear. Not the positive reverential kind which merely respects power greater than itself – but the negative paralyzing kind which prevents anything positive from being considered. Superstition is politically and socially acceptable, being that it is an expression of the human nature which all humans inherently understand and accept as reality. You know, like that “Murphy” guy, whose alleged “law” reportedly makes our bread land butter side down, etc. We “get” that. Because in our fallen state there is indeed a brownish pall over our atmosphere. Hence sayings such as, “Life is a bitch, and then you die”, “Karma is a bitch”, or, “Live and learn, die and forget it all” - and the host of other cheery and encouraging themes by which most people live out their short lives and die utterly disgruntled!
But what we are missing is that this unfortunately negative human condition is not God's fault! His exhortations against sin and its inevitable consequences are not threats! The judgment has already been meted out! Rather it is a warning that judgment has been meted out, and which also includes instructions, if we will have them, on how to avoid the coming disaster! It is a spiritual G.P.S. - Good Positioning System – given to direct us to and to position us for His Goodness (a.k.a. “Blessing”) in our otherwise miserably doomed lives!
Sickness, disease, mental illness, the inability to prosper in anyway, etc., these are all “side-effects” or consequences of sin. It is what sin produces if left unchecked in our lives. No matter how small the seed of sin is, which we allow to be planted and cultivated in our lives, it will bear disastrous fruit eventually. We are often duped into thinking that we've somehow escaped the consequences because it takes years to manifest. But I have observed that the longer the consequence takes to show itself the bigger bugger it is going to be when it does!
Sin can be defined as rebellion to God's Law, or Instruction, a blatant ignoring of His requirements. If one wants to remove the religious aspect it becomes merely “sad choices”, “not using one's head”, or “walking straight into a trap”, etc. Sin always runs on the credit system, while righteousness is a pay-up-front plan! And along with life, dying and karma – sin's consequences are always “a bitch”! One of my favorite quotes, attributed to someone called “The old Preacher”, says, “Sin will take you much further than you wanted to go, keep you much longer than you wanted to stay, and cost you much more than you wanted to (or were led to believe you would) pay!” I have personally observed this to be true.
And the worse thing about it all is that it can be completely avoided! God has made a way out of that system for us – the price – which needed to be paid ahead – has been paid on our behalf. Bail has been met. Ransom has been delivered. We are free to go! But we are also free to do nothing, which is what the lazy flesh will always choose. Only the enlightened spirit-man can choose otherwise. But even then, if we settle into familiar habits we can drift back into default mode – which is death. We are given two choices - “Choose Life or Choose Death”. Some people refuse to choose, thinking that if they don't choose they can't be held accountable! Wrong answer! Not choosing His path to Life - on purpose, simply means that you have chosen the path to death - by default!
What often confuses people is that they are not taught, or have selectively chosen to ignore, the reality of eternity. That is, the fact that this temporary physical, five-senses-driven, existence is NOT all there is! Many want to discount, or disregard the fact that after (what we have come to know as) death (that is the ceasing of these physical bodies, which our souls and spirits temporarily inhabit) we have an opportunity to live on – or die on – forever– as the spiritual entities we were created to be! Sinful humanity does not wish to contemplate that issue very deeply. I can see why. But denial is rarely a good thing!
There is eternal Life. But there is also eternal death. Hence the choice. First of all think of dying forever. Now that I am on the other side of that proverbial “hill” I personally think that 70 to 120 years max is all I want of that bother! Think of being trapped in only evil with a complete absence of all that is good or comforting – forever. At least now it is a mixed bag – as in, “we must learn to take the bad with the good”, Right? What if there was only bad? Ugh.
Now, conversely, try to imagine being free of all evil and experiencing only good and comfort forever! To me, if it is a gamble, as some have said, it is the only gamble worth taking. If I am wrong, and I really do come to an utter end at the physical death of this body, then I have hurt less people by following the beliefs I have lived by, and lost nothing of real value. But if I am right I tend to gain big-time. Yes, my “money”, time, life, efforts are going there! Naïve or not!
But we must stop slandering God for the stupid choices which we make, or for the problems caused by our selective ignorance of His Word! We – at least those of us who claim to believe and follow Him and His teachings – must stop trying to make Him the scape goat for our own choices and learn to accept the responsibility and authority for our lives which we have had returned to us at Salvation! His Son has already willingly taken on the job of scape goat actually, and performed it to perfection! The ball is, therefore, now in our court! The choice is now ours to make, and the power to make the right choice is available to us! As well as the consequences of which we are forewarned if we do not change our course!
“Choose you this day whom you will serve!”, we are exhorted. We are also warned, “You can not serve God and mammon (that is fleshly, man-made rewards, idols, ideologies, money, fame, etc.)!”. We are fully instructed as to what kind of thought and behavioral patterns will bring Life and which will result in an untimely and eternal death! WE MUST CHOOSE! And as daunting as that is there is no way around it.
We can blame who we will, but the buck stops here – and one day the bill will come and we will have it to pay. I choose to pay as I go, so as not to incur a greater debt than that from which I was originally delivered! But clearly I need His help with that. Over time I have come to realize, however, that I can not run to Him for that help and away from Him, simultaneously! While that is an obviously logical assumption we humans do not arrive at it as often as we'd like to think! And as stupid as it sounds that is exactly how we live – like a bunch of spiritual “push-me-pull-yous”. Hence the caution in the book of James, which warns us of the instability of being double-minded.
That is because, as I have pointed out, there is something in the flesh which is inherently God-resistant, until we bring it to the Christ of Calvary for mutual Crucifixion. It is like a computer virus which runs in the background causing undetectable problems until wiped clean by the professionals! But we have the greatest “tech” who ever lived! There is nothing which His methods can not cleanse and transform to proper working order! He paid the ultimate sacrifice to return us to the Character and Image of our Creator God, His loving Father. But He will not take us hostage! We must choose to bring our faulty computer in for a cleansing! That is the only way to achieve the oneness of mind we need to escape the insanity of sin! We need the “Mind of Christ”, The Anointed One, running in our background, as well as desk-top!
And because of the world in which we live, we must come often! We must live in vital connection with Him! We must realize and accept the fact that if we want to be like Him we must give Him more than a mere few hours per week! We must accept the fact that we need daily contact! Daily interaction! We must have His life breathed into us regularly. We need Him more than food and air! Which means that we need to present ourselves, as it says, as a daily sacrifice – willing to let the flesh die (i.e., the lower nature, the “natural” man – which is not natural at all, but a perversion of who we were meant to be) – in order to have it displaced or transformed by His all-loving, all-knowing, all-powerful nature (which was HIS plan all along!)! Our very DNA is reworked from fallen, sin-infested, curse-ridden death to Resurrected, Blessed, Whole, Peaceful, Holy Life! What could be better? So let's stop slandering God and really trust Him. After all, what do we stand to lose but a lot of negativity?