Fear of Slander

I’ve read 2 Samuel numerous times. And I’ve been moved by my Father’s faithful Holy Spirit, to pray what is written in chapter 16, verses 10-14.

And once again, I’ve learned something new, about an old and familiar passage I’ve long loved and prayed to be true in my life. But before I share what our compassionate and faithful and superbly loving Father taught me through His Word, by the power of His Holy Spirit today, allow me to digress for a moment to share a brief summary (and the passage) that has long been a staple of my prayers.

When Shimei (a relative of the late King Saul, whom the LORD deposed of his throne) violently accosted King David and his servants both physically and verbally by hurling stones at them and slandering the good name of King David, one of his mighty men, Abishai (a son of Zeruiah, one of David’s two sisters) being rightly indignant, offers to avenge his king’s integrity by killing Shimei. But King David’s response was a very unusual one. Rather than feel loved and encouraged by Abishai’s undaunted loyalty for him, David actually distances himself from Abishai, rebukes him, and proclaims the excellence of the Almighty’s wise judgment and sovereignty and goodness, for his trust is in God alone—

What have I to do with you, you sons of Zeruiah? If he is cursing because the LORD has said to him, ‘Curse David,’ who then shall say, ‘Why have you done so?’ And David said to Abishai and to all his servants, ‘Behold, my own son seeks my life; how much more now may this Benjaminite! Leave him alone, and let him curse, for the LORD has told him to. It may be that the LORD will look on the wrong done to me, and that the LORD will repay me with good for his cursing today.’ So David and his men went on the road, while Shimei went along on the hillside opposite him and cursed as he went and threw stones at him and flung dust. And the king, and all the people who were with him, arrived weary at the Jordan. And there he refreshed himself.
~2 Samuel 16:10-14, ESV

For many years, my prayer in response to this, has been that the LORD my awesome God and Father, who delights in practicing steadfast love, justice, and righteousness throughout all the earth (Jer 9:23-24), would be pleased to grant me the same humble and wise and submissive heart that He generously poured out to King David. When I am slandered (falsely accused of offenses or sins against God or man), I ask my gracious and merciful Father to grant me the same loyal and devoted heart he gave King David—that I too, may rightly discern all things whether good or evil, are done to me only by the wise judgment of my loving and good Father.

My Savior, my greatest and First Love, kindly granted me my request as soon as I asked. And for years, I have enjoyed the freedom and happiness in Christ to forgive and pray for the slanderer’s soul, and to live in the righteous peace of God with them. Some I can keep near (those who repent, Ps 119:63), and others, I keep at a wise distance (the unrepentant, Prov 9:8; 1 Cor 15:33).

But still, my heart was daily consumed from the ache of all that was lost by slanderers who tore both my earthly family and spiritual Family apart, limb by limb. Though I was no longer enslaved with disdain toward the slanderer, I was tormented by those who so quickly and willingly believed the slanderers’ false accusations about my character, and sins that I neither committed against the lying tongue, nor against those who provided safe harbor for the them to do the devil’s work (cf. Prov 26:20, Rev 12:10). Though my heartache over injustice wrought upon me or other innocent parties is warranted, if my aching, impedes my progress in Christian maturity through the daily reading, studying, and meditating of God’s Word, that is when I’m in sin.

For anything that weighs and slows me down from running my race with faithful fervor and devotion to Christ my God, the Captain who called me into His marvelous light, then I have wrongly given it the glory, the heaviness and grandeur in my mind and heart, that it does not deserve.

Only the LORD of hosts, my God and Father, my Savior and Redeemer, the Rock of my salvation, the Counselor of my soul, rightly deserves the full glory, the full heaviness, and weight of grandeur, and all splendor my small life can manifest. And therefore, this day, I resolve to pray and have applied to me in great measure, from my God, to be granted the heart of King David—a heart not only humbled before the LORD, but also, wholeheartedly entrusts my entire being and every happening in my life to the good and righteous and awesomely wise judgment of the Great I AM.

As of today, by God’s grace, I’ve been freed from the fear of (gratefully) infrequent result of slander—the fear of people I’ve known and loved for many years, and some, decades, easily accepting the false accusations of a divisive spirit, over applying God’s wisdom (Js 3:17-18) by testing all that they hear with God’s Word (Jn 7:24). For the LORD has reminded me today, that no one can be enticed to do evil (Ex 23:1, Ps 101:4-5, Prov 11:9, Eph 4:31), without there already being a seed of discord and bitterness about me, in their own hearts (Js 1:14-15). Eve was quickly and easily deceived by the devil, only because the devil, who is the most craftiest of all creatures, clearly saw that Eve desired to be her own woman—the captain of her own soul. Because Satan was able to clearly deduce Eve’s evil desire, he didn’t even have to apply a stupendous lie. All Satan used to entice Eve to sin, was to blatantly blaspheme God’s good character.

I won’t deny that it’s painful to face the fact that brothers and sisters in Christ, whom I’ve loved and poured out my life in Christ to, would so quickly and easily forget all the good work (of prayer, of service, of comfort, of biblical counsel, etc.) that our LORD gave to them, through me. Though it still pains me, it no longer enslaves me to the grief and depression that Satan uses to impede the pace my Savior has established for me. I resolve to no longer sit by the wayside and fawn over relationships lost to lies. Because if the LORD allowed the slanderer to be successful in throwing stones and cursing my character, then, because my God is the LORD, let my LORD do all that seems good to Him (1 Sam 3:18).