I was recently asked by a good friend, “How do you cope with false accusations?”
My friend was very concerned about me and my reputation since she recently heard accusations against me that she found hurtful and non-sense. She immediately defended me to that person with rage in her heart. At first, she did not want to tell me what happened because of fear that I might get hurt but she ended up still telling me because again she was very concerned.
I smiled at her and said, “It’s okay. It’s part of Christian life.” She blankly stared at me, confused as to why I was not angry.
I would lie if I tell her that these things do not affect me. In my walk with Christ, I have been falsely accused of many things already – some as private insults, some as public shame. Slander, insults and false accusations always hurt. God knows how it hurts badly, especially if the one who said it is someone you loved, cared and prayed for so deeply.
But along the way, the words and promises of God has taught me many things about Jesus including how He responded to the hurtful/undeserving things said/done against Him.
If you have been wrongly accused of because of your faith in God or have been made fun of because of your desire to follow Jesus, I have listed down four things for you — two things here and another two in my next blog post. God reminds me of these things whenever I get into that kind of situation. I hope this also encourages you in Christ.
Circumstances reveal who we are – our faith and character – thus, our response to hurtful words matters to God.
I used to minister to this girl for a little over two years. I did not only treat her as a friend but a younger sister. I have been there for her through thick and thin, and she was like one of my side-kicks in sharing the gospel, too. However, she backslid in the faith because she made a decision to choose a sexually immoral relationship over Jesus, and rebellion against her parents over submission to God. She initially tried to hide it but then again, there is nothing hidden that God won’t conceal in the light (Matthew 10:26, Luke 8:17).
Her defense mechanism was to be critical of others’ faults. She began pointing out the sins and mistakes of the people around her. She did not tell me anything in my face. Instead, she opted to just disappear from our friendship. Eventually, she called me a brain-washing hypocrite behind my back and in front of other people because according to her, I was maliciously convincing others to Bible studies and worship services. I learnt about it from a friend who overheard what she said.
My first impulse was to defend myself against the accusations against me. My tendency was to fix everything/take the matters into my own hands particularly in winning back those who have heard the slander. I wanted to share my side of the story. I was also tempted to drown into self-pity.
But God made me realize that defending myself is an instinct of the flesh – fear of people, instead of fear of God. If I take the matters into my own hands, I will just make things worse. But if I entrust all these things to God, His sovereignty and truth will be magnified. If I vent it out to the world, I pay evil with evil. But if I pray it out to God, I overcome evil with good (Romans 12:1).
God reminds me: When you suffer from an undeserved injury, your meek integrity over time will say all that needs to be said. He even tells us in Romans 12:19, “Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.”
I recently re-encountered Nehemiah 6 during a one-on-one Bible study with Chelo. This chapter talked about the additional oppositions that Nehemiah faced while rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem which God entrusted Him to do.
The first thing that the enemy did to hinder Nehemiah’s leadership in doing God’s will is to scheme intrigues against him. But Nehemiah was firm in his priorities for the Lord’s sake and for His people’s sake.
Nehemiah 6:3 — “I am carrying on a great project and cannot go down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and go down to you?” Four times they sent me the same message, and each time I gave them the same answer.
The second thing that the enemy did was to spread slanderous false rumours about Nehemiah’s leadership. But Nehemiah resisted it with truth and prayer.
Nehemiah 6:8 — “Nothing like what you are saying is happening; you are just making it up out of your head.”
Nehemiah 6:9 — But I prayed, “Now strengthen my hands.”
The third thing that the enemy did was to intimidate Nehemiah. But Nehemiah boldly prayed for them instead.
Nehemiah 6:14 — “Remember Tobiah and Sanballat, my God, because of what they have done; remember also the prophet Noadiah and how she and the rest of the prophets have been trying to intimidate me.”
Finally, when the building of the wall was completed, those who opposed Nehemiah became afraid because they realised that they did not just go against Nehemiah, they went against God and His will.
Nehemiah 6:16 — “When all our enemies heard about this, all the surrounding nations were afraid and lost their self-confidence, because they realized that this work had been done with the help of our God.”
This chapter is a great reminder of what God’s servants must do and rely on when facing oppositions in the form of subtle deceptions and plausible sounding appeals like intrigues, false rumours and intimidations.
We do not need to defend ourselves against slander, insults, betrayal and false accusations; God can do that for His children. What we should do instead is to pray, trust God and to keep persevering in what God has called us to do.
Like Nehemiah, we must keep building the walls for God and His people despite all the evil plots of the enemy. Our character in the midsts of oppositions should not be shaken by men and the world, but anchored on God and His protection instead. David puts it boldly in Psalm 35.
Psalm 35:1 — “Contend, Lord, with those who contend with me; fight against those who fight against me. Take up shield and armor; arise and come to my aid.”
Psalm 35:4 — “May those who seek my life be disgraced and put to shame; may those who plot my ruin be turned back in dismay.”
Psalm 35:22-24 — “Lord, you have seen this; do not be silent. Do not be far from me, Lord. Awake, and rise to my defense! Contend for me, my God and Lord. Vindicate me in your righteousness, Lord my God; do not let them gloat over me.”
Psalm 35: 26 — “May all who gloat over my distress be put to shame and confusion; may all who exalt themselves over me be clothed with shame and disgrace.”
Accusing lies speak more of the accuser than the one being accused.
There was this young girl I met last year. Her rebellion against her parents and decision to jump from one relationship to another were misunderstood by people as self-centeredness but it was actually because of deep hurts and bitterness from the past.
Out of Christ’s love, I welcomed her in my life and treated her as a younger sister. I remember the nights when she would tell me all her hurts and worries, and we would pray about it together. God knows how much I care about this girl especially in times of trials.
Then suddenly, she started to not show-up in our weekly meet-ups anymore. At first, her reason was because she had transferred to another city. So whenever she would drop-by Manila, I would still invite her for a time together. But she would bail out on me over and over again.
She then got engaged into another sexually immoral relationship with lies and rebellion scattered all over the place. I did not hear anything from her anymore since then.
One day, I found out from her friend that she told her grandparent that I am a bad Christian because I was no longer inviting her to meet-up and that I neglected her as a friend.
She even cursed me and told a friend that I should be avoided.
When my friend showed me her DMs, I was silently stunned. I wanted to immediately react but God was so gracious that He reminded me of this: Jesus did not open His mouth against lies. So as a follower of Christ, neither should I.
In my head, I asked, “God, what are you trying to teach me in this situation?” And His answer was very straightforward: Think of Jesus. Tame your tongue. Trust in Me. And He voiced out 1 Peter 2:23 to me.
1 Peter 2:23 — “When they hurled their insults at Him, He did not retaliate; when He suffered, He made no threats. Instead, He entrusted himself to Him who judges justly.”
Whenever a servant of Christ is accused and cursed because of his faith in God and love for others, he is called to entrust God with all that is in it. At the end of the day, accusing lies speak more of the accuser than the one being accused. Therefore, reacting to slander, insults, betrayal and false accusations is not only futile but won’t give glory to God.
A servant of Christ is called to not be outwitted by satan’s schemes (2 Corinthians 2:11) nor be carried by the struggles caused by evil (Ephesians 6:12), but instead, to fix his eyes on Jesus in order to run with perseverance the race marked out for him (Hebrews 12:1-4).
In reference to Proverbs 26:2 (“Like a fluttering sparrow or a darting swallow, an undeserved curse does not come to rest”), I would like to quote something from an article of Christianity Today:
The “undeserved curse” does not come to rest because of the “sow and reap” principle. Sow lies and rumors, and you’ll reap a reputation of sowing lies and rumors. Sow goodness, and all those “undeserved curses” will not come to rest. — Christianity Today (1999).