Proverbs 17:4

An evildoer listens to wicked lips,
and a liar gives ear to a mischievous tongue.

Have you ever been frustrated trying to convince others that a rumor is false? You encourage them to think positively about others, but they assume the worse. Maybe you are trying to clear up your own name. You think that if you can only explain clearly the facts, they will listen. If you can only reason with troublemakers, they will see the error of their ways. They must be acting out of misinformation.

The truth is that they are acting out of the information they want to believe. Romans 1:18 says, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.” The problem of the wicked is not that they did not hear the truth, but that they wanted to hear the lies and mischief.

Jesus bluntly said, “Why do you not understand what I say? it is because you cannot bear to hear my word. You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires” (John 8:43-44).

What is the application for us? Understand what really is at issue for the wicked. Those who delight in falsehood and mischief are not misinformed people who need education. They are deluded by Satan and need the Holy Spirit to bring them into the light of truth. Pray for the wicked and liars. Pray against Satan who holds them in his grasp. Do not exasperate yourself with trying to reason with them. Concentrate more on giving the gospel and making it plain. Without the Spirit they will still reject you and your message; but do not then yield to frustration. Pray and trust God to do his work.

Furthermore, when your own reputation is under attack, trust God for vindication. You are called to act with a clear conscience before God. It is not on your shoulders to convince those who want to hear lies and mischief. When you are slandered and others believe the slander, what matters most is that you live honorably before the Lord. “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:6-7).

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