Do you remember why you stopped liking her in the first place? Did she do something to you? Did she hurt you in some way?
Seriously, think about it. Do you remember?
What if you can’t seem to recall, but you know you don’t like her?
If you traced your assumptions of her all the way back to the beginning, you might discover that she actually did nothing to you. You might find that it all started with a tiny seed—a passive-aggressive seed said about her through the mouth of someone else.
Who knows if these morsels of indecency were even true? Who can tell if the one fertilizing the seed had your best interest at heart when they spoke those seemingly passive, uneventful words?
Passive-aggressive seeds aggressively devour the body and wreak havoc on our relationships.
Slander is the sin we so often believe we can manage, but all too often, manages us.
If you entertain tiny seeds of division about another, whether true or untrue, it will most definitely mar your image of that person. It’s inevitable.
You may be tempted to think, “Not me, I can handle it.”
But the truth is that none of us can handle it. As you allow someone to speak negatively about another in your presence, you will not be able to unhear those words. Even if you see through the insecurity of the fertilizer to know they aren’t entirely true, still, there will be that voice that wonders. Wedges will form, and ideas will take root in your heart, so eventually, you end up despising someone for no other reason than you “heard” something about them that displeased you.
In truth, if you’re honest, you enjoyed it because, temporarily, it made you feel better about your own brokenness—the brokenness you hope is not the topic of anyone else’s conversations.
If you repeatedly welcome slanderous conversations, then slander will find you wherever you go, and there will always be someone in your life you are at odds with. This way of life will leave you bitter. You will train yourself to look for the worst in people, and you will always find it.
How do we guard our hearts against such division?
We don’t participate.
Well, yeah, but how do we break the habit? We break this habit the same way we prepare for a hurricane. We understand the danger of the high tide, so much so that we would never remain in a house that is in the path of the storm. The thrill of witnessing the towering waves is not worth the devastating effects of remaining.
The only way to break this habit is to understand truly how dangerous it is. It is poison to our very souls and divides people that God intended to work together for His glory. It’s why so many scriptures of warning are taken up with the topic of slander. No one benefits, least of all the fertilizer.
The good news about a seed that was just planted is that it’s effortless to dig up. You simply reach your hand in the loose soil and pull it out. Repent right then and there before the seed is ever allowed to take root. You will not only minimize the devastating effects of slander, but you will also send an unmistakable message to the one who said it to begin with—a message that says, “Don’t tell me.”
A seed that you allow to fertilize over and over surely takes root and will be a bit more tedious to get rid of but is worth being free from nonetheless.
You must ask yourself these questions:
- Where have the roots of this slander led me?
- While entertaining these words, what has that caused me to believe about someone?
- Have I used those damaging words to lay seeds of my own against them?
- Have I gone to that person?
- Have I wanted to know the truth, or have I been content to believe the worst?
- What must I do to make it right?
In answering these questions, the Holy Spirit will guide you through the process of uprooting the roots of destruction that you allowed into your life. It will require repentance and quite possibly some tough conversations, but the reward of breaking the tidal wave of slander far outweighs the discomfort it may personally cause you.
This leads me back to the question, do you remember why you stopped liking her in the first place?