Being falsely accused of something that you know is simply not true is so hard to endure, isn’t it? We want to convince our accusers that we are not the people they say we are. We want to defend ourselves. We want to be validated by those who love us, to offset the ugly words thrown at us.
After being unjustly blamed for something that I am not even capable of doing, I was blindsided by an open attack on my character. While still trying to decide if I should try to defend myself, I began to realize that I didn’t have to. Jesus is my defense. Sometimes when we speak truth into a situation, those who enjoy control don’t want to hear it. I am a truthful person and I am confrontational if I know I need to be. It has a lot to do with how we do it, I suppose. But sometimes, even if we do it in the kindest of ways, it just doesn’t matter if the person has set their heart against you. And controlling people want to stay in their delusions. A few weeks back, I wrote an article about toxic people. Then I was tested on what I wrote. Sometimes it is revealed, all at one moment, who you can trust and who you can’t. It leaves you reeling in shock. This recent attack on my character came out of nowhere.
“But in that coming day no weapon turned against you will succeed. You will silence every voice raised up to accuse you. These benefits are enjoyed by the servants of the LORD; their vindication will come from me. I, the LORD, have spoken!” (Isaiah 54:17)
This is what I have realized. Many people live in a world of smoke and mirrors and prefer to stay there. Not everyone wants our help in uncovering truth in their lives. I was asked a simple question, and I gave an answer that was more truthful than the person wanted to hear, and wrath was unleashed into accusations, multiple ugly emails, and slander. The hard part was that it was in an instant and thus such a shock. I thought this person was a friend.
When Jesus was accused so many times, He answered them not a word. I need to do the same. If someone is set against you, whatever you say to them will be turned around anyway. What is walking in the love of God with them? I see four steps to walking out of the toxicity and to following Jesus in this area.
- Remain kind and always forgive. Remember, forgiving does not mean that what they have done is okay. It means that you release them to God, and you aren’t held captive by your grudge or hurt against them.
- Don’t defend yourself. Pray for reconciliation, but trust that He knows what is best for you.
- Examine your own heart to make sure you have been upright and not self-serving.
- Let Jesus soothe those hurt feelings, and realize that He was treated the same way, when He so didn’t deserve it.
“God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers. Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in Heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way.” (Matthew 5: 11-12)
Wise and discerning Christians who have been around the block ignore gossip that puts other believers in a bad light. In fact, in the eyes of the wise and discerning believer, any statement that has a defamatory tone is discredited out of the gate.
When believers are concerned about someone, they should go straight to the person privately as Jesus taught us to do, asking questions rather than making allegations.
Some Christians, however, never think to do this. Instead, they readily believe slanderous allegations about a sister or brother in Christ without ever going to that person first.
The question “How would I want to be treated if someone were saying these things about me?” never seems to occur to them. The life of Jesus Christ always leads us to live that question. The flesh always leads us in the opposite direction.
Remember, Satan is the slanderer (that’s what “Devil” means), and he uses gossip to destroy relationships. That’s why the Bible says that believing gossip separates close friends and that one of the seven things the Lord hates is “sowing seeds of discord among brethren.”
This doesn’t mean that you will never be hurt. Nor does it mean that you will never be angry. Jesus got angry. Remember His temple tantrum? Paul said, “Be angry and sin not. Don’t let the sun go down on your wrath.”
Anger is a normal human emotion when someone abuses you or abuses someone you care about. But what you do with your anger determines whether or not it is sin.
In addition, we should always be “quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” The Lord has called us to the high road of living without offense. And He has given us both the power and the will to do His good pleasure in this area.