Have you ever been lied about? Had a friend (who you thought had your back) make a difficult time even worse? Are you the subject of gossip? It’s a terrible feeling. The injustice of it all can eat away at you, leaving you overwhelmed by anger, fear, and uncertainty. Before you know it you could be flailing about in fury.
Or, you can flourish.
As Christian women, we’re promised we can flourish in every circumstance.
“The righteous . . . are planted in the house of the Lord; they flourish in the courts of our God.” (Psalm 92:12)
If you want to flourish when someone's talking smack about you, lean in. This little nugget-of-a-blog is packed full of FIVE FREEBIES that you can use now to set the stage to flourish in your life. But I feel especially called to nurture your heart if someone is lying about you. Even in that dark place, you can flourish!
While it is true one definition of flourish is “to grow and develop in a favorable environment,” God's plan is much more magnificent. A biblical understanding of flourishing invites us to live on mission and sustain an outward focus for others even in the harshest of circumstances. No doubt, you’ve got some harsh circumstances in some area of your life. It seems we’re either walking into a hardship, or just walking out of one most days.
In the last year or so, God has allowed my name to be the target of atrocious slander. Words that have been used about me were so bad, I won't type them here. They aren't true. And I won't pass them on! It is in this space God has called me to flourish. And I've learned a secret about thriving through the gossip. It's this: where you're planted matters.
Where you are planted now determines how you fare and whether you thrive and flourish over the long haul. If you are planted in His presence among His people, you will flourish in this life and all the way to the end for all eternity.
-Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth
I've had to choose to be planted in the approval of man or the Word of God. It's that simple. Two things have gotten me to approach this with character.
1.) God hates lies and loves the truth. (Exodus 20:16)
The scriptures state this over and over. When you are living righteously before Him, He jealously defends you from lies.
In the Old Testament the lex talionis was applied to those who violated God's prohibition against false witness in ancient Israel. You know, “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth!” This process was actually established to ensure that true justice is dealt. It establishes that the punishment must fit the crime: If the victim’s eye is taken, then the perpetrator’s eye is taken — no more and no less.
Thankfully, today's New Testament is full of lavish grace. But God still defends His people. And He often uses others to do it. The process for addressing false witness is still spelled out for us in Matthew 18:15-20. If you know of someone who is spreading gossip or lying, you should confront the offender in love according to these verses. If the perpetrator is righteous, they will repent. And that's a beautiful thing to see in someone and they should be extended a generous waterfall of forgiveness.
If they don't repent, Matthew 18 instructs you to go to the elders in your church. Leaders must be prepared to throughly investigate BOTH SIDES of a conflict, and address the situation should the need arise. Destructive gossip, backbiting, using a lie for your benefit and other sins of the tongue should never be tolerated in the church, the Lord’s holy temple.
But not all people who lie and gossip are willing to be confronted by someone in the Body of Christ. They'll just run to another church or tell another lie to cover up their sin. And, sadly, I find very few leaders are willing to do the confronting.
My own attempts to make lies right with proper authorities met with lethargy and lazy leadership. Sigh. If yours have, too, take comfort in this verse. (And take heed if you're the one spilling the ungodly tea on someone.)
"Though the wicked sprout like grass and all evildoers flourish, they are doomed to destruction forever." (Psalm 92:7)
God takes evil seriously. A liar and gossip who does not repent is doomed to destruction forever. The God of the Universe eventually levels the playing field. Justice is in His nature.
What's in yours? That's the question God's Spirit has been whispering in mine as I learn to flourish in the face of falsehood. He's been teaching me this...
2.) Your character will outlive the lies told about you.
I've seen social media posts with that sort of statement, but it wasn't until I looked at Psalm 92 closely that I saw something that made it a biblical truth for me to stand on. Read this about the righteous.
"They still bear fruit in old age; they are ever full of sap and green,
to declare that the Lord is upright; he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him. (Psalm 92:13)
Here's another way to flourish!
I’ve created an event specifically to give you a night to come up for air and get a fresh dose of hope and perspective. I’ll be joined by my dear friend Erin Davis and our favorite worship leader Stephanie Martinez. I can promise you this: you'll laugh hard, worship freely, and study the Word of God actively. Click here to learn more.