Broken relationships between men and women exist in every society throughout the world.
But Jesus, through His crucifixion and resurrection, can redeem and restore these relationships.
Relationships between men and women shattered in Genesis 3 at the Fall.
Thus, this spiritual stronghold has been building for thousands of years.
In a series of short blogs, we identity and examine some of these spiritual strongholds that need to be subdued
in order for men and women to relate in a way that honors both God and one another.
“You hate the Church.” “You hate women.” “You are a heretic.” “Our committee decided that you hold unbiblical views and you have deceived our church.”
Yes, these are all words we have heard – and not just a few times. These phrases (and worse) came from both pastors and leaders in the church.
The forked-tongue of the enemy produces his natural language – accusation and slander. But also, Christians who use name-calling and dirty verbal tactics reveal not simply an inability to think well and discuss with Christ-like language. It also uncovers a deep-rooted partnership with the Enemy.
The Bible calls Satan the accuser. Revelation 12:10 says, “Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, ‘Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of Christ has come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down.’”
Often Satan doesn’t even need to do the accusing and slander himself. Why? Because many Christians are more than willing to do it for him!
Perhaps you encounter slander at the teacher’s lounge, the country club, the locker room, or the school hallway. Christian gossip tears down or even masquerades as a prayer request. Christians may buffer their comments with, “I don’t want to be mean, but…” and you know that whatever comes next is not of God! Regardless of the “packaging,” God sees the ugliness of gossip, slander, and accusation.
The mouth matters to God! “Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless” (James 1:26). Because the mouth matters to God, Satan does all he can to fill mouths with cruel, provoking words.
Psalm 64:3 “They sharpen their tongues like swords and aim cruel words like deadly arrows.”
This verse serves as a prophetic warning. Words are powerful weapons! This truth should cause us to consider our own careless or intentional words.
Throughout history, Christians have attacked other Christians with communication. We recently found a letter where a man from a partnering church wrote us a letter packed with accusatory arrows. He called us heretics because we don’t rank the Trinity in a one-directional, “chain-of-command” hierarchy. (In reality, the early Church rejected his view! See the Arian/Athanasian conflict and the creeds that came after Arius was defeated. Still, we don’t call this church leader a heretic!) But because one man called us heretics, we lost the church partnership. Being called a heretic is not to be taken light-hearted. Fearful, unthinking people used to burn heretics at the stake.
So how did Jesus respond to the stronghold of false accusation? He modeled a few tactics that disarmed the opposition (but these tactics still did not rescue him!):
- Silence – “Then the high priest stood up and said to Jesus, “Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?” But Jesus remained silent.” (Matthew 26: 62-63) Result… confused accusers.
- Truth – “The high priest said to him, “I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God.” “You have said so,” Jesus replied. “But I say to all of you: From now on you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.” (Matthew 26:63-64) Result… called a blasphemer.
- Walk in the Opposite Spirit – Jesus’s life and teaching shined in contrast with the world’s example. “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[3. i] and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:43-44). Result… persecuted and killed by enemies. Of course, the “trick” is that THIS IS NOT A TRICK OR TACTIC! We genuinely need to have an opposite spirit, not just SEEM like it! God sees and knows all of our hearts.
- Exemplary Life – Of course this is true for Jesus, but we also see this tactic with the prophet Daniel. “At this, the administrators and the satraps tried to find grounds for charges against Daniel in his conduct of government affairs, but they were unable to do so. They could find no corruption in him, because he was trustworthy and neither corrupt nor negligent.” (Daniel 6:4) Result… cast into lions’ den. Or consider the apostle Peter’s encouragement, “Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.” (4. 1 Peter 2:12) Result… God glorified (Finally, a good result!)
While we see incredible blessing of equipping godly men and women as laborers for God’s kingdom, others may feel threatened. We know that accusations and slander may fly due to Shoulder to Shoulder – particularly from Christians in the West.
Some may falsely claim that we are “progressive Christians” – absolutely not! Even in this topic, we return to the historical roots. From the very beginning, “God created them male and female” and co-commissioned both to be fruitful, multiply, fill, subdue, and have dominion – together.
Some may claim we are heretics – well, perhaps by their standards, but we don’t think so according to God’s standards. Jesus remains our audience and we will not waste time engaging those who fight like the enemy – through accusation and name-calling. We are happy to have productive theological conversations.
A natural response to threat is to accuse, gossip, and slander. And so, we pray for a supernatural response that overcomes these natural tendencies, especially among Christians!
There is a better way – God’s way. Men and women side-by-side and shoulder-to-shoulder running fast and far for the Great Commission – together! May S2S Servants speak the truth in Christlike love, and may God protect us all from the enemy’s arrows.
The enemy wants to multiply sharp words that pierce the soul and cause deep injury. Of course, he wants physical violence and death, but Christians slinging vicious accusations also make him smile. More victories for Satan equals:
- Injured reputations, destroyed relationships
- Chaos-causing or comment-swatting Christians
- Fewer harvesters
- No tectonic shifting
- No mountains move
- The Fallen world remains ignorant of God’s beautiful kingdom!
Pray that those involved in multiplying men and women for the Great Commission will rightly divide the Word of Truth and line up with God’s character! May the mountains of SLANDER and ACCUSATION be moved, in Jesus’ name!