One of the most debilitating events in a Christian’s life is going through the trial of character assassination, aka gossip. The scripture reminds us “our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against powers and principalities of the spiritual realm” (Ephesians 6:12), but it sure doesn’t feel that way when we look in the physical face of the person who has betrayed us and says unkind things about us.
Jesus said, “God blesses you when you are mocked and persecuted and lied about because you are my followers. Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember the ancient prophets were persecuted too!” (Matthew 5:11-12 NLT). That scripture encourages me, but the pain is still real and the wound is sometimes deep.
I have recently gone through this trial, and its devastating effects. I kept reminding myself of the Lord’s words and knowing in my mind the only reason I was under attack was because I was representing Christ, but that didn’t ease the pain or the intensity of the trial.
I kept crying out to the Lord for help. I asked him to fill me with his peace, his love, his patience, his kindness, his faithfulness and his self-control. I asked for the strength to forgive those who were attacking me and love them as he would. Everyday he helped me, but I was wounded by those I tried to love. I walked in forgiveness that was the only way I was able to go on. The Holy Spirit reminded me that Jesus also loved Judas.
One morning on the way to work, the Lord spoke to my heart through a Christian song that was playing. Jesus was beaten by sinful man, mocked, cursed, spat on and publicly humiliated by those he came to love. He paid the ransom for all our souls. Then it hit me, I had received the honor to suffer for Christ. (Romans 8:17) Somehow, we forget that our faith is only real when it is tested. Testing comes in all shapes and sizes.
The Apostle Peter wrote, “For God is pleased with you when, for the sake of your conscience, you patiently endure unfair treatment. Of course, you get no credit for being patient if you are beaten for doing wrong. But if you suffer for doing right and are patient beneath the blows, God is pleased with you. This suffering is all part of what God has called you to. Christ, who suffered for you, is your example. Follow in his steps.” (1 Peter 2: 19-21 NLT). This statement no way condones physical abuse, but confirming the reality of the enemy and the war that has been waged against our souls.
The greatest lesson I have learned through this trial is although I felt I was alone in this suffering, I was never alone, Jesus was right there beside me. We forget his promise never to leave us or forsake us. When our pain is so real, we tend to recoil and forget he is ever present. Jesus also knew this pain when he cried out from the cross, “My God, My God why have you forsaken me?” (Mark 16:34). His mind knew that the Father could never forsake him, but the intensity of the pain, made it feel as if he had.
If you are suffering from a character assassination, try to remember you are in good company Jesus suffered this way also. Hold tightly to your faith and trust that the Lord is your only judge and he will exonerate you.
To those who are caught up in the sin of gossip, let me warn you that you are an enemy of the cross. “There are six things the Lord hates, no seven things he detests:
A lying tongue
Hands that kill the innocent
A heart that plots evil
Feet that race to do wrong
A false witness that pours our lies
A person who sows discord among brothers” (Proverbs 6:16-19 NLT)
If any of these things strike a cord with you, confess them and go make right the wrong you have done. “You can be sure that no immoral, impure or greedy person will inherit the Kingdom of Christ and of God. For a greedy person is really an idolater who worships the things of this world. Don’t be fooled by those who try to excuse these sins, for the terrible anger of God comes upon all those who disobey him.” (Ephesians 5:5-6 NLT).
May the Lord our God bless us as we obey his word. May the Lord continue to give us strength as we stand on the side of integrity and honor.
Copyright©2010 tathorpe –All Rights Reserved-