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For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. Matthew 15:19
They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Romans 1:29-30
[B]ut in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil. 1 Peter 3:15-17
As our country sinks deeper into darkness, I wonder if we are properly preparing our children to be slandered for the Christian faith.
What is Slander?
Slander is taking the good gift of speech that God has given men and women and using it to attack another person. Specifically, it is speaking critically with the intent to hurt. Webster’s 1812 dictionary defined slander as “a false tale or report maliciously uttered and tending to injure the reputation of another by lessening him in the esteem of his fellow citizens.” While gossip spreads a true negative report that does not need to be spread, slander spread lies with the intent to harm. 
The devil and demonic forces are slanderers. In fact, the Greek word we translate as devil, diabolos, means “slanderer.” The devil is THE original slanderer, speaking evil untruths of God. He skillfully mixed and still mixes his slander with half-truths. Sometimes the best deception is a little bit of truth mixed in with lies. But as someone has said, “A half-truth masquerading as the whole truth is an untruth.”
Christians can be guilty of slander and we are told to fight this sin (See 2 Corinthians 6:8, 12, Ephesians 4:31, Colossians 3:8, and James 4:11-12 for just a few of the exhortations). The online world seems to have accelerated and numbed us to this sin. But in this article, I am particularly burdened that Christians prepare their children for the slander that will come from the world. 
Slander from the World
Our children may be on the receiving end of slander directed at them personally. However, in this article I am thinking about slander that is directed at evangelical Christians.

One type of slander comes when reporting the evil deeds of “Christians.” Jesus is not surprised by their evil deeds nor should we be. He predicted false teachers and leaders whose sins would be hidden for a while (Matthew 7:15-20, 1 Timothy 5:24-25). He even said that God uses men and women who are not personally obeying him (Matthew 7:21-23, Luke 6:46).  For more on this see my article An Apologetic for the Mess.

Evil deeds do need to be exposed. The slander comes by attaching wrong behavior and theology to all Christians. In other words, I find a poor representative of a group I don’t like. I report on this evil done by someone in this group. And then I smear the entire group with guilt by association.  And of course, this is the type of news that sells. After all, “If it bleeds, it leads.” No one reports on the many good things that Christians do day in and day out. Instead, the evil that some Christians do is attached to all Christians. And therefore all Christians are guilty.  This is the very epitome of slander.

Applications for Parents
I see at least three very specific applications for parents.

First, we need to prepare our children to discern what is true and what is slander. If we teach our children that this is a subtle (or not so subtle) way to discredit Christians they will be better equipped. The goal is to poison the minds of their readers against Christianity (Acts 14:2).The media’s power has only increased now that everyone has a device in their hand. It is easy to imply that all ____ (fill in the blank) ______ are evil because ___(fill in the name)______ is bad. 

Second, we remind them that Jesus predicted false professors. Bad “Christians” do not discredit Jesus any more than bad musicians playing Mozart discredits Mozart himself. 

Third, we remind them of the good examples they have seen and all the good that goes unreported.  God will continue to use his people to bless those that live around them. Faultfinders are always good at pointing out the speck in other people’s eyes while missing the log in theirs (Matthew 7:3-5).

Slander takes the good gift of communication that God has given us and uses it to injure others. There should be no place for slander in our family or in our churches. But, let’s also prepare ourselves for an increasing amount of slander in the future. And let’s train our children to not let it poison their minds.