1 Peter – Chapter Two V

by Ed Urzi

“So rid yourselves of all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all slander” (1 Peter 2:1 HCSB).

Have you ever had someone lie about you behind your back? Have you ever encountered a situation in which someone appeared friendly but secretly tried to undermine you? Have you ever had someone speak to you in a courteous manner but talk very differently about you when they were engaged with others? These examples all represent various forms of slander.

Slander involves the intentional communication of a false statement that is designed to injure another person’s reputation. It signals an attitude of contempt and/or disrespect for someone else. Slander is the oldest form of character defamation and traces its origin back to the Garden of Eden. Consider the serpent’s interaction with Eve concerning the forbidden fruit in Genesis chapter three…

“…the woman said to the serpent, ‘We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’” Then the serpent said to the woman, ‘You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God…'” (Genesis 3:2-5).

That represented a false statement that was intended to damage God’s reputation, for it implied that He had not been truthful in His earlier warning.

From there, we move from the first book of the Bible to the last book of the Bible to consider Jesus’ letter to the ancient church at Smyrna. In Revelation chapter two, we learn that the Christians in the town of Smyrna were suffering from the slanderous opposition of others. In His message to the church there, Jesus assured His followers that He was aware of the situation and identified the root cause as well…

“I also know the slander against you by those who call themselves Jews and really are not, but are a synagogue of Satan” (Revelation 2:9b NET).

Unfortunately, the individuals who were slandering the Christians in Smyrna were people who appeared to be spiritual, but actually had more in common with the devil than with God. That brings us to the following observation…

“There is a sense in which slander is the most cruel of all sins. If a man’s goods are stolen, he can set to and build up his fortunes again; but if his good name is taken away, irreparable damage has been done.” (1)

(1) Barclay, William. William Barclay’s Daily Study Bible, “The Qualities Of Godlessness (2Ti_3:2-5 continued)”