Summary: The devil is at his worst when he realizes time is about to run out-he must know the signs of the times, and that Jesus could return at any moment. Link inc. to formatted text, audio/video, PowerPoint.
It's a perfect example of what we're talking about. And you've had similar experiences on a personal level. It hurts. That's why the devil inspires people to attack motives...because he wants to hurt us. Only God knows your motives. I think it's ok to question motives, one on one, but not to judge them.
Slander is usually an attack on someone trying to accomplish something. So, the only way to avoid it is to do nothing and be nothing. But where there's friction there's motion, and some will be rubbed the wrong way. I want to be a mover, a shaker, and a change maker. I don't want to intentionally hurt feelings, and try hard to avoid that, but not at the expense of accomplishing things.
Here's what Nehemiah did:
• Deny the report.
v. 8 What a simple statement. "Let not your good be evil spoken of." Jesus answered not a word, but that's because He WANTED to be held guilty in our place. And He is our defender, but the truth is His weapon. And people of character will be able to decide for themselves what is true based on the character of those involved.
Don't delve into the mudslinging or a back and forth...just a simple statement of the truth.
• Take it to God
v. 9 God, be my defender, keep me strong and focused on what I'm supposed to be doing. All that matters is what God knows. It is becoming increasingly risky to preach the plain truth, because as our message becomes less and less politically correct, the chances go up that we'll be big news someday for our 'off the wall' stands we take. When and if that day comes, may be ready to bear that shame as a badge of honor for the Lord, and just leave it all with Him and stay focused, realizing we are trying to please Him, not them.
• Just keep on working.
Henry Ward Beecher, "Life would be a perpetual flea-hunt if a man were obliged to run down all the innuendoes, inveracities, insinuations and suspicions which are uttered against him."
11 Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge.
Lincoln, "If I were to try to read, much less answer, all the attacks made on me, this shop might as well be closed for any other business. I do the very best I know how - the very best I can; and I mean to keep doing so until the end. If the end brings me out all right, what's said against me won't amount to anything. If the end brings me out wrong, ten angels swearing I was right would make no difference."
Don't be surprised when slandered. The servant is no greater than his master, and think about what they said about Jesus: that He was illegitimate, a glutton, a drunk, who operated in the power of the devil.
We are told not to be ignorant of the devil's devices.