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Arrogance And Slander

2 Peter 2:10-11
… those who follow the corrupt desire of the flesh and despise authority. Bold and arrogant, they are not afraid to heap abuse on celestial beings; yet even angels, although they are stronger and more powerful, do not heap abuse on such beings when bringing judgment on them from the Lord. (NIVUK)

Slander, the false statement that maliciously ruins reputations (James 4:11), does not stalk alone.  Its associate is the heart-attitude of arrogance.  Arrogant people think that they have the right to exalt themselves by speaking ill of others.  Wherever you see one of these ugly companions, the other is lurking nearby: both are dangerous and neither can be trusted.  Today's verse shows that there is no limit to the authorities which ungodly false teachers will try to topple by their bad-speaking.  As with every evil act, there is no satisfaction in being 'a little bad', and without repentance, sin will escalate until it engulfs its perpetrators.  
It is not clear who are the 'celestial beings' in this passage. Of the possibilities of church members, church leaders, good angels or fallen angels it is the latter that seems to fit the context best as they are mentioned in 2 Peter 2:4.  The false teachers have presumed to make accusations about them before God's throne (as Satan does in Revelation 12:9-10).  It may seem ludicrous that they would dare to try to get believers, angels or demons in trouble with God (Jude 1:8); but arrogance knows no bounds, and rebellion craves recognition - even from God.  But by contrast, loyal angels do not even whisper any complaint in God's presence. They know the truth of Deuteronomy 32:35 and Hebrews 10:30 where God says, "It is mine to avenge, I will repay".
Alas, the false teachers who have invaded the church over the centuries understand no such respect; they destroy the reputations of godly people in order to establish their own authority.  Powerful and plausible they may be, but when motivated by arrogance they will express themselves in slander and try to tear down what God wants to build up, or what God is allowing until the time of judgement.

The secular versions of arrogant slander can be found in every company and profession.  They will be found out eventually, but meanwhile they are to be pitied and prayed for - that they may find Christ.  But the church needs strong and Godly leadership to identify these spiritual posers, depriving them of the limelight they seek.  So, as well as praying for the arrogant at work, also pray that your church leaders will know how to deal with the malicious slanderers within the church.  In the end, the Lord will deal with both (1 Corinthians 6:9-11).

Almighty God. Thank You for being All-mighty. Forgive me for every hint of arrogance and for the times I have slandered others. Please root out these wicked characteristics from me. I now pray for those whose arrogance seems unlimited, and who have no fear of anybody or even of Your authority. Please bring them to repentance and faith, before they face Your judgement. And please give wisdom and courage to my spiritual leaders so that they may guard the flock against the arrogant slander of those who seek to gain influence in the church. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams