Have you ever been unfairly accused or slandered? I have noticed a trend lately on social media where many people are getting hung up on legalistic doctrines taken from the Old Testament. Through immaturity in the Word, they entirely miss the Spirit of the Law, which was Jesus Christ. Consequently, whey they get a whiff of your personal freedom in Christ, their feet rush into condemnation of you for not following what they perceive are commands of God. They seem ignorant to the New Covenant brought to us through Christ. They stand ready to accuse you of any sin they perceive you may be in (not following the law), completely discarding God's grace and mercy, all-the-while seemingly unaware of the deep pit of hypocrisy they are in.
In Matthew 15, Jesus teaches about this type legalism & hypocrisy. Standing in front of Him were a group of Pharisees and teachers of the law who were accusing his disciples. He starts out addressing his disciples by saying "LISTEN" and UNDERSTAND"... Jesus wants His hearers to really GET what He is saying, and to perceive what He means when He said:
"What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them.” - Matthew 15:11
Clearly, Jesus is less concerned with what we eat, and more concerned with what we say. The defilement we ought to fear, is not from what enters our mouths as food, but from what comes out of our mouths, which shows the wickedness of our hearts.
The only two commandments Jesus left us with were to love God, and love each other:
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” - John 13:34 - 35
“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." - Matthew 22:36-40
Are you following Jesus' commands when you accuse the children of God of adultery when they get remarried? Are you following Jesus' love commands when you slander someone online? Are you loving your neighbor when you call a woman a harlot, a fornicator, and a Jezebel out of your own jealousy and covetousness?
"For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. These are what defile a person." - Matthew 15:19 - 20
Quite obviously, the answer is "no". In fact, people who commit these very acts have defiled themselves, and have become the greater sinner, devoid of the Holy Spirit and without eternal life:
"Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him." - 1 John 3:15
To those of you who have experienced this kind of treatment from people who have not had their hearts renewed, be encouraged. While they may get some self-righteous, fleshly pleasure out of tearing you down, God promises us that they will be "pulled up by the roots":
"Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be pulled up by the roots. Leave them; they are blind guides. If the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.” - Matt 15:13-14
The fact is, there are many unstable people in "religion". Through their own issues and deep-seeded failures, they like to use the Word of God to attempt to tear others down, instead of edify and encourage. They have not fully let go of the truth that there is nothing we can do to earn our own salvation, and that we are fully dependent upon Jesus Christ to redeem our souls. We cannot redeem ourselves through any work or act of the law.
Because out of fear they question their own salvation, and because they have not yet rested in Jesus, they begin to make rules and restrictions for themselves, and believe that others should also live by those rules.
Because their hearts are wicked, if you don't live by their perceived rules, they begin to attack you and condemn you. They refuse to come to the Lord in humility as a sinner in need of His grace, and insist on holding onto their pride. All the while, they are coming across as the worlds biggest hypocrite, trying to hide their own sins and accuse the innocent of sin. It really is a very sad, twisted state, and these people need sincere prayer and intercession.
“But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you." - Luke 6:27 - 28
For those of you who have been victims of this type of mistreatment, seek the Lord to help heal your heart. I know words can be hurtful.
"The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit." - Proverbs 18:21
But what I have found is that the best way for your heart to heal is to forgive. I know forgiving someone who has wronged you isn't easy. But God knows our weaknesses, and He has promised to provide the power we need when we do not have the strength to do His will. If you don't know how to love your enemy, God will help you.
"For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline." - 2 Timothy 1:7
God will give you the power to love your enemies the way He wants you to love them.
And for those who are struggling with a hateful heart, pride, and hypocrisy, know that I am sincerely praying for your heart to be softened, so that you may receive the glorious gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Anna Cheslick is the wife of Scott Cheslick and the creator of Humble Woman Ministries. Scott and Anna created Pure Word Ministries in December of 2017 as a means of Evangelical outreach through Social Media.
Her passion is writing about God's Word in order to build-up, encourage and edify others and to glorify God.