Dealing with False Accusations

People have been falsely accused since human beings began multiplying on the Earth.  Not everyone loves the truth.  Unfortunately, an outright lie, half-truth, or deceitful tale all come across as having more interest and spark than the plain truth.  (Incidentally, half-truths and deceit are still lies, but they have enough twisted truth in them to make them believable.) In most situations, the truth is nothing like the thousands of rumors that fly around it.

Jesus dealt with false accusations during His time in this world.  People accused the sinless Messiah of being a glutton and drunk (see Matthew 11:19).  If God in the flesh could not avoid lying tongues, then neither will you nor I.

It Hurts

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When someone spreads an untruth about us, it is hurtful.  Truthfully, it is one of the things I hate most. Untold and irreversible damage has been done to people’s lives and reputations as a result of a false accusation.

In my own life, I have dealt with this problem.  My type-A personality immediately wants to confront the accuser with the facts.  In some cases, this is the best way to handle the problem.  In other cases, it is best to be more tactful.  Although I have learned much of this the hard way, I have often asked myself how I am to know which method is best–bold confrontation or more polite ways.  The answer is simple:  let the Holy Spirit direct you.  He knows all, and He knows the best way to handle a situation.

My Side of the Story

When a dispute has taken place or one person’s version of a story has been heard, you can rest assured that there is another side to the story.  Unfortunately, we do not always find out the other side.  That is why the Bible commands us to withhold judgment.  Certainly, we do not condone wrongdoing, but we leave judgment up to God in people’s personal situations.

Recently, I had some very blatant lies told about me.  Some of the stories told about me were outright lies.  Others were quotes attributed to me that were either twisted or taken completely out of context.  It is always best to verify the facts before blurting out what we think we know.

Truthfully, I am reminded of times that I wanted to believe the worst I heard about others rather than consider that there might be another side to the story.  When the gossip hits home, I am reminded that rumors are not fair to any person.  We should not start them, and we should not entertain them.

What Does the Bible Say?

God’s word has much to say about rumors, both spreading them and dealing with them.  When you are the one falsely accused, God has a remedy for you that brings peace.  1 Peter 3:16 reminds us that we should continue living right before God.  The accusers will eventually be put to shame.  In other words, keep doing right. Eventually, others will see the truth.

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Isaiah 54:17 reminds us that weapons formed against His people do not prosper.  It also states that every tongue that rises against you in judgment will be proven wrong.  When we give these hurtful and frustrating situations to God, He will reveal the truth and bring good out of the situation.

A Look at Me

Whenever someone has brought a false accusation against me, I take time to prayerfully consider if there are ways I could have handled the situation better.  Perhaps my tone of voice in saying something was a bit hurtful.  Although God does not expect you to condemn yourself or take responsibility for something you have no fault in, it never hurts to ask the Lord if we could have spoken or acted differently in these situations.

After you have prayed about a false accusation, and given it to God, move on.  Let it go.  Dwelling on it only builds resentment which will spill over into your other relationships.  When this happens, we often take our anger out on people who have done nothing wrong.

If you or someone you know has been to prison, lost a job, or divorced over a false accusation, I encourage you to seek godly counsel to deal with this hurtful circumstance.  God can bring healing, and if restoration is needed, He can bring that as well.

Taming the Tongue

Last Sunday at church, I discussed the theme of James 3.  If you are familiar with the book of James, you know exactly where I’m going.  Ouch!  Sometimes, the Word hurts, but we need to let it hurt.

From time to time, I have to take a step back in a manner of speaking and think about my words.  What message do they convey?  Am I speaking life or death?  Am I helping or hurting with my words?  These are questions we must all ask ourselves.

There are a number of ways to misuse your words.  Although I will not be able to discuss all of them, I will attempt to highlight a few.

Negative Speaking

 

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Proverbs 18:21 is a popular passage of scripture. It is often used for selfish purposes such as declaring that people should speak worldly prosperity into their lives.  Although God has no problem blessing His people, the purpose of this passage was to remind us that we should not speak negatively about ourselves, others, or life in general.

Think about all the times that you speak negatively.  How is your disposition afterward?  Do you feel peace and joy?  Or, do you feel down and in despair?  While certain physical conditions can cause us to have a tendency to lean toward depression, speaking negatively can certainly affect our health and the way we get through a given day.

Critical Words

Constructive criticism is one thing, but berating every move another person makes is another.  As we know it, constructive criticism is helpful because it is done out of a pure motive.  Godly correction, which is a bit more than constructive criticism, is to be done in love and by the leading of the Holy Spirit.

When you speak critically of others, your God-given ability to practice forgiveness is hindered.  Your focus is on the fault in everyone and everything rather than what is good.  If you find it necessary to correct everything someone says or does, you have a tongue issue, and you need to seek God for deliverance.

Colossians 4:6 reminds us that our conversation should be covered with grace.  Extend grace to others and to yourself.  You will find that your disposition will improve.  Trust me, everyone around you will be grateful.

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Gossip

I don’t know of too many people who have not gossiped at one time or another.  It is a natural human tendency to tell what we have heard about others or a situation.  Most of the time, we do not have all of the facts.  Even if what we are repeating is true, there is a chance it does not need to be repeated.  Check with the Holy Spirit.  He will guide you.

Unfortunately, I have helped to spread gossip, and I have been the subject of gossip.  Jesus, help me!  I want to do better, and I believe you do too.  Ephesians 4:29 reminds us that we should let no corrupt communication proceed from our mouths, but we should speak what edifies.

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Walk away from a gossiping conversation.  If you are unable to walk away, try to find something positive to say about the person in question.  Or, simply remind everyone that the Lord commands us to address issues privately before telling them to everyone else (see Matthew 18).

Speak Life

Speak God’s word over your situations.  I am not suggesting that you become a “name it and claim it” sort of person, but I am saying that you should allow your words to line up with what God says.  God’s word says that you are an overcomer.  God’s word says that He provides escape from every temptation. God’s word says that He has given you all things that you need for life and godliness.  What else does God’s word say about you and your life?

Speak Mercy

When people offend us, and it will happen, choose mercy.  I know it’s not easy.  Just yesterday, I was extremely upset with a few people who were gossiping about some people I love.  Although God calls us to confront situations, we still have to speak mercy.  When I say to speak mercy, I mean that we must speak out that we choose to forgive our offenders and put them in God’s hands.  Extending mercy will cause mercy to come back around to us.

Speak Grace

God’s grace has been given freely to us as believers.  We must extend that grace to others. and ourselves.  Let people off the hook.  You do not have to allow people to walk all over you, but sometimes we just need to let things go.

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Speak Love

1 Corinthians 13:13 reminds us that faith, hope, and love abide, but the greatest of these is love.  The love of God is given to us by the Holy Spirit when we accept Jesus.  We can walk in love.  We can do all things through Christ.  Remember this:  love is not a feeling.  It is an act of your will.

What Will You Speak?

James 3:8 states that no man can tame the tongue.  That’s right, we can’t, but God can.  We have God in us through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit so our tongues can be tamed and used for God’s purposes.  Jesus reminds us in Matthew 12:36 that we will give an account for every idle word that we speak.  This does not mean that we should always be silent, but it does mean that we should speak by the leading of the Holy Spirit.

What will you speak?  Life or death?  Grace or evil?  The choice is yours, but the same verse that says life and death are in the power of the tongue also says we reap the fruit of our words.