Have you ever been slandered? I mean really targeted by someone fully intending to hurt you? I have. It’s awful. It takes time to figure out something is wrong. When you do, the damage has already been done. Then it’s a matter of wondering out who else may be looking at you sideways. Slander is serious.
Perhaps I’m guilty of it myself, to some degree. I suppose there may have been times when I have done great harm to people. I can’t think of any, but I won’t say it hasn’t happened. I’m certainly not above slander, both as a target and a perpetrator.
Degrees of Slander
It seems to me that there are degrees of slander. In some instances, there may be a grain a truth to an initial claim that can either be blown out of proportion or taking out of context. I think of political campaigns. Someone says something then the other party blasts that one line over and over. Truly, politics is the epitome of slander.
But what about the target who is truly innocent? It’s hard to feel sorry for a politician because that is the game they have chosen. When someone innocent is targeted, well, that’s another story. Nobody likes to see that, but it happens all to often. Like I said, I’m not in this category because I not only have plenty of dirt in my life, but I’m also guilty of being instigator and perpetrator of slander against others. I’m not innocent.
Jesus was truly innocent. This point really came home to me while reading a book by Puritan author John Flavel entitled “All Things Made New“. As someone who has been intentionally, severely slandered I now have a better appreciation of what was done to Jesus than I once did. Better, but not good. A taste, yes, but that’s about it.
What really struck me was a line that Flavel wrote.
…but was also represented as a sinner to the world, though most holy and pure in himself.John Flavel, All Things Made New p. 37
Jesus was completely innocent. In fact, he is “holy, holy, holy”! He’s not like us. Yet, he was said to be a drunkard, lazy, and a blasphemer. It went so far as that they intentionally killed him on a cross – the most cruel death they could have done. They cheered it on.
Jesus was innocent, completely innocent.
Yet he chose to come to earth anyway.
Volunteering for Slander
Who in their right mind would volunteer for something like that? Forget about trying to imagine dying on the cross. None of us have ever seen this in real life. But, we probably have been slandered. How did that feel when you found out someone was intentionally out to cause you great harm? Nobody signs up for that.
Yet Jesus willingly chose a mission in which this, and more, would happen. In fact, it was a mission that God the Father, Jesus’ Father, meant to destroy him. “Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him; he has put him to grief.” (Isaiah 53:10) Slander was part of it.
It’s hard to get my head around that. It’s even harder to think that he did it for me.
but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8
For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:21
Jesus had plenty of time to think this mission over before he accepted it. Who knows, maybe he was part of the original idea. It’s one thing for you or me to jump into a river to save a child’s life; it’s quite another to plan to die on a cross for someone who hates you and doesn’t want to be saved.
Comprehending That Love
It’s taking me time to comprehend that love. It will be worth it. Puritan writers are good guides. For another post on Puritans, click on this link.
Father, open my eyes and heart to learn more and more of your love for Jesus and your love for me. All to often I get caught up on the cares of this world that I don’t give these deep things much thought. I want to know more. Amen.
Copyright © 2021 Scott Powers