God Care for his People: Part 3
Has there been a time in your life when others lied about you? Have you been on the receiving end of slander and gossip? I know we all have faced a time in our lives where others spoke words of ill- will toward us or to others. This in many ways is the worst type of attack we can face in life because we are not really able to defend ourselves. Honestly, defending ourselves amid lies, slander, and gossip does not achieve anything. On the contrary, it makes those speaking against you look foolish. It is in these moments when we face undue speech we must learn to trust in God’s care for us when we can’t fight our own battles.
The greatest example of this is the Lord Jesus Christ. In 1 Pet. 2:23, “and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously.” This verse stands for us as a living testimony of how Jesus faced undue hatred and opposition. Jesus, throughout his ministry, faced unfair criticism and mischaracterizations. In Luke 4:22, those whom heard Jesus read Isaiah 61, its living fulfillment before their eyes, in the synagogue said, “Is this not Joseph’s son?” He is more than Joseph’s son; He is the true Son of God. Even at Jesus’ arrest, standing before Caiaphas the high priest, two witnesses were brought to testify against Jesus. In Matt. 26:59 we are told the chief priest brought false witnesses to testify against Jesus. In this account two witnesses come forward twisting the truth to suit their agenda, “This man stated, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God and rebuild it in three days.’” They were twisting Jesus’ words against Him and giving them their own meaning rather than truly seeking to know what this man was teaching. This was a means to discredit Jesus, to give them a reason to have him done away with.
"JESUS, IN THE FACE OF LIES, REMAINED SILENT, NOT BECAUSE THESE MISCHARACTERIZATIONS WERE TRUE, BUT BECAUSE HE KNEW THE TRUTH."
But Jesus, in the face of lies, remained silent, not because these mischaracterizations were true, but because He knew the truth. What truth did Jesus know? He knew that God was going to fight for Him. He knew, even in the face of death, that God would not abandon Him, “For You will not abandon my soul to Sheol;” (Ps. 16:10). When we know the truth, it is a great comfort. This is why Jesus was able to stand fast. Cognitively, we know God knows all things, and this is another hope we rest in each day even among the greatest forms of slanderous speech. Even in Paul’s ministry, he faced undue criticism. There are always people in the church that believe they are the only defenders of the truth. Their truth is God’s truth, as they march piously through the church pointing out its flaws, and ridiculing the elders because of their biblical ignorance. Paul endured this type of hostility in his ministry, but he learned to rest in God’s timing as he endures such opposition. Just listen to these encouraging words, “Therefore do not go on passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men’s hearts; and then each man’s praise will come to him from God” (1 Cor. 4:5). Paul learned to let words of criticism, judgments, and misrepresentation go without losing a wink of sleep because he knew God would be the final verdict.
If you have been the recipient of hateful speech, no matter its form, take heart in knowing you are not alone. But also realize there will be times when we will be tempted to give out the same filthy speech, and we must pray that God will shut our mouths.