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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Falsely Accused: How to Handle It Biblically

Photo courtesy of: suphakit73,

Someone knows one little part of a story and thinks he* knows all of it. He makes a judgment—the wrong one. Then, he lets you know how displeased he is. He accuses you of all manner of things that have nothing to do with the truth. What a railing! Such nasty words!

You stand there with your mouth open. What in the world brought this on? This isn’t even close to the truth. The accusation is false, and you weren’t asked the facts, only blasted with someone’s false assumptions.

It happens to everyone at some time, and for those in leadership, it seems to happen often. The accusations come. You didn’t handle this situation in the right way. You should have told this person thus and such. You blew it.

The accuser has no idea what really happened. He wasn’t there, and he didn’t ask you what really happened. But he’s quick to point the finger of blame—on you.

It hurts. It really does. We’re human after all, and life isn’t always fair.

The Bible says it’s going to happen.
  • Jesus said, Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you (Matthew 5:11-12).
  • Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution (2 Timothy 3:12).

So, what should a Christian do when falsely accused? God knew we’d need some help. Here are just a few biblical examples:
  1. Joseph had been sold into slavery in Egypt and had done all the right things. Potiphar’s wife thought he was good-looking and tried to seduce him. He refused—every day—and she was offended and angry when he ran away, leaving his outer garment in her hands. She lied about him, and he was thrown in jail. Joseph’s response? He went on doing good and gaining respect. When God gave him the interpretation of Pharaoh’s cupbearer and baker’s dreams, he asked the cupbearer to remember him to Pharaoh. He forgot for two years, until Pharaoh had dreams that needed interpreting. Joseph expresses his attitude in Genesis 45:5, 7-8, Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life. . . . And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So now it was not you that sent me hither, but God: and he hath made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt. (The rest of this story is in Genesis 39:12-20; 40:23; 41:9-13.)
  2. When a friend attacked David, he went to God with it, and the Lord delivered his soul in peace. For it was not an enemy that reproached me; then I could have borne it: neither was it he that hated me that did magnify himself against me; then I would have hid myself from him: But it was thou, a man mine equal, my guide, and mine acquaintance. We took sweet counsel together, and walked unto the house of God in company. . . . As for me, I will call upon God; and the LORD shall save me. Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice. He hath delivered my soul in peace from the battle that was against me: for there were many with me (Psalm 55:12-14, 16-18).
  3. Jesus was falsely accused all His earthly life. People thought He was illegitimate, and during His ministry, they misunderstood what He said. In order not to be too long or complicated, let’s only look at the very end of His life on earth and on how He responded to false accusations. In Mark 14:56-62, Jesus is before the council. For many bare false witness against him, but their witness agreed not together. And there arose certain, and bare false witness against him, saying, We heard him say, I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and within three days I will build another made without hands. But neither so did their witness agree together. And the high priest stood up in the midst, and asked Jesus, saying, Answerest thou nothing? what is it which these witness against thee? But he held his peace, and answered nothing. Again the high priest asked him, and said unto him, Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed? And Jesus said, I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven. Jesus said nothing first, but when pressed, He responded with the truth. In Luke’s gospel, Jesus went before the council, Pilate, and He’s then crucified. He says the truth about Himself. On the cross, He prays for His murderers, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do (from Luke 23:34).

In summary, making it practical:
  • Don’t be surprised when you're falsely accused. It happens to everyone who serves God.
  • Don’t let it make you bitter. Your accuser may be ignorant or misled, or it might be truly persecution.
  • If you're offended, go in private to the accuser and try to fix the problem. (Matthew 18:15)
  • Go to God with your hurt. Pray. Open your Bible. God will give you peace.
  • Will God use this for good? It’s a possibility! (Romans 8:28)
  • Always answer very little and with truth. Jesus modeled this for us.
  • Pray for your accuser. (Matthew 5:44)
* Using masculine pronouns for both men and women.

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