Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore, let us go forth to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach. For we have no continuing city here, but we seek one to come.
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From stories in Matthew 26 and John 12
In order for slander to occur, three parties must be involved, not two, as many first would guess. First, there must be a slanderer, second, a listener to the slander, and third, a righteous soul (the one being slandered). What makes slander what it really is, Satan’s most successful weapon, is that these three people must each be in a particular spiritual condition. Not just anyone qualifies to be a slanderer, just as not everyone qualifies to be a newly converted person. If any one of these three kinds of souls is missing, slander cannot occur. All three must be involved.
On a human level, the slanderer is someone who has been in the Lord for a while and is respected and loved by new converts to Christ. He has too much of God in his life to cease from worshiping with those who love God with a pure heart, but he has too much of the world in his heart to be pure-hearted himself. He looks good, but he isn’t good. He is what Jesus called a “foolish virgin”.
The listener to slander is the new convert. Having just escaped from the world, he assumes that everyone who is already in the kingdom of God is better than he and wiser than he.
The third person involved in slander is the one being talked about, a saint who is walking uprightly before the Lord. The only extent to which he is involved in slander is that he is the subject of it. He may not even know that slander against him is taking place, but without him, it could not take place at all. He is what Jesus called a “wise virgin”.
Every one of us who belongs to Christ belongs to one of these three groups. We have all become a wise or a foolish virgin, or we are still young enough in the Lord to be in the decision-making stages of our walk with Jesus.
No one will ever deceive you unless you first love or trust that person. It is important that you make up your mind early that you will never do evil, even if someone you know and trust is leading you in that direction. This is the benefit of knowing that you will stand before Christ and give account for your own deeds. You will not be able to excuse yourself by blaming anyone else for how you behaved. Our deeds are our own.
Slander succeeds every time that a younger member of the body of Christ receives information from a trusted older saint that causes a separation from another older saint whose faith he should be following. This is what happened to Eve in the Garden of Eden. In her case, she received into her heart the suggestion that God had a hidden, self-serving agenda, and that His commandments were for His good, not hers. Eve sinned, thinking her deed was her own idea. It happened again when David’s son Absalom “stole the hearts of the men of Israel” from his father by very subtly suggesting to them that David did not care much for their welfare. The ones who believed his lie never knew what hit them. Before they even knew it, they were marching with Absalom’s army toward Jerusalem to attack the king, thinking it was their own idea to do so.
When Paul said that Satan “has transformed himself into an angel of light”, he could have said that Satan had transformed himself into a brotherly bringer of information. Young saints’ love and respect for the right people is their safety. But certain information about those who are righteous, injected into their hearts at an early time in their walk with Jesus by a friendly older brother or sister, can rob them of some of that love and respect for the righteous and lead them down another path, eventually to become “foolish virgins” themselves.
Tomorrow: How Judas attempted to steal some of the disciples’ devotion for Jesus.