Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not SLANDERERS or slaves to much wine.
I am going through the Revive Our Hearts Podcast from last year (Feb. 2017) titled, “God’s Beautiful Design For Women. This evening, I was on day 9 of this study, based in Titus 2, and was an introductory study of Nancy DeMoss Wogelmuth’s book titled, Adorned.
In this particular portion, Nancy focused on slander. Slander is being a malicious gossip, or a false accuser. Nancy points out that the Greek word for “slander” is “diabolos” which is the basis for our English word, diabolical. Diabolos is used thirty-eight times in the New Testament. Thirty-four of those times, the word refers to the devil. three times, it is used for the word slander. You can see an example of this in 1 Timothy 3:6-11. In verses 6 & 7 of this passage it is used to refer to the devil. In verse 11, it is used for slander. Also notice, each time this word is used for slander, it is giving instruction to women. Does that say something about our character as women? As Nancy put it, “as women, this is an issue that we are more prone to be tempted in and one where we’re more inclined to sin with our tongues.”
These were some highlights from today’s lesson that I thought were important.
“I remember reading that [A.W.] Tozer said that the curse of the twentieth century (his day) was because we think we know something, therefore, we have it, when sometimes nothing can be further from the truth.
“We have a lot of people in a lot of our churches who do know sound doctrine, but they don’t live in a way that accords with sound doctrine. If you have a loose tongue, then there is something wrong with your doctrine or your application of doctrine to life. If you are not temperate in your lifestyle, then there is something wrong with your application of doctrine to life.
“Paul says that these are the things that accord with sound doctrine. This is fitting for sound doctrine. This is the overflow, the outflow of sound doctrine in a woman’s life. This is was reverent behavior looks like. Reverence for God affects the way that we talk and the way that we walk. Sound doctrine will always result in a certain kind of speech and a certain kind of behavior in our lives.”
I have to take a deep look at my life and ask if my actions are in accord with sound doctrine, especially in this area.
“Our words will come back to haunt us. We don’t always reap the harvest immediately. But we will reap the harvest. So God says, “This is something that has to be purged from your midst. It should have no place in the church of Jesus Christ.”
“It’s something we need to examine, we need to evaluate and weigh. We need to say, “Is there slander? Is there malicious gossip? Are there even truthful things being said with the intent to harm, behind others’ backs, to other people, bringing other people into the conversation who aren’t part of the problem or part of the solution?”
We’re saying things about others that are not productive. They’re not true. They’re not edifying. They’re not building up. They’re tearing down.
God says don’t do it. Purge out the evil from your midst. And when others see consequences, they will fear, and they will “never again commit any such evil.”
The community of faith, the body of Christ, is supposed to be a place that’s safe for sinners who are in the process of being redeemed. But when we maliciously or carelessly or thoughtlessly speak words that tear down, that defame, that are deceptive or untrue or harmful in intent, we’re undoing the work God’s Spirit is trying to do in His people.”
What about those times someone tells us something and we share it, not to intently harm someone, but we still share it with others, or even listen to it??
“So when Paul says that older women are to be reverent in behavior and not slanderers, that means that they are to refuse to listen to or to spread reports or stories about others that are false (they’re not true) or they’re harmful—they could be injurious to that person..
“Slander is a serious matter to God. It’s one of the Ten Commandments. Exodus 20:16 says, “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.”
Exodus 23:1 tells us, “You shall not spread a false report. You shall not join hands with a wicked man to be a malicious witness.” Don’t do it. Don’t go there.
Proverbs 6:16 says, “There are six things that the Lord hates; seven that are an abomination to him,” and then in verse 19, right in that list is “a false witness who breathes out lies.” It’s an abomination to God.
“By the way, in that same list is a person who spreads discord among brethren. Those two often go hand in hand—spreading discord, and being a false witness who breathes out lies.
“People who slander others often do it with the intent to divide. But even if that’s not their intent, that’s the effect. They end up sowing discord, dividing, creating wedges and barriers between people by using their tongues to slander.
Ephesians 4:31 says, “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander [evil speaking] be put away from you, along with all malice.” Paul says, “Get rid of it.”
As Christian women, we should be able to say to our friends and acquaintances, “I don’t need to hear this.” I do want to warn you, when you are convicted to do this and your friends have not been, it will put a chasm between you and them. I have experienced this very thing. It was very painful to me, that ladies I had come to love, who were Christian ladies, quit conversing with me when I told them I wouldn’t listen to gossip. It was a sad realization that most of our conversations were based on sharing news about others, whether good or bad, and there was nothing else to converse about.
There is no acceptable degree of malice or slander or evil speaking for Christian women. This is something that in our own lives we need to have zero tolerance about.
Sometimes I think we’re just careless. But it’s an area where we can’t afford to be careless, because when we speak slander, we’re doing the work of the devil.
It wrecks marriages. It wrecks children. It wrecks workplaces. It wrecks churches. It wrecks relationships. It wrecks us. It wrecks our relationship with the Lord to be a slanderer.
“Death and life are in the power of the tongue” (Prov. 18:21). We can build up with our tongues. We can encourage people in that process of sanctification, or we can say words that destroy and tear down.
Paul’s instruction in Titus 2 has huge ramifications in a time when slander and false accusations can spread like wildfire with a simple click on our laptop or our phone. As we tweet and text and post and “like” and “share,” we need to make sure we’re not spreading slander—especially in such a contentious environment when it seems people are dividing into warring camps about so many things. As followers of Christ, we ought to be hugely counter-cultural in this area and in every area.
Is this an area you need to focus on with confession and repentance? Is this an area you COULD be guilty of and you are making excuses that your gossip isn’t gossip because it is true? Are you part of the solution or part of the problem in the information you are “sharing”? If you are not part of that information, then it is gossip. This is the prayer that Nancy shared and I made it a personal prayer. I hope you can use this prayer for your own situation.
“Lord, I pray that You would show me my root issues and my heart that would produce this hideous, diabolical fruit of slander, and that You would help me not just to deal with the surface issues but to put the axe to the root of what might be in my heart that might cause the slander.
“Over these next couple of days, would You be speaking to me and convicting me and reminding me as I go from this place and my conversations? I pray, Lord, that You would fill my mouth with words that are edifying and profitable and worthwhile and beneficial, words that will encourage and strengthen and give life to those about whom I’m speaking.
“Thank You, Lord. May I be a reverent woman who honors You and glorifies You with my tongue. I pray in Jesus’ name, amen.”