1. Correctly Accused
Suppose someone accuses you of something and you immediately realize they are right. Ahh! That hurts! It feels cruel and devastating though. What will you do with the embarrassment? What will you do with the loss of reputation that may result from people knowing about it? Usually God is trying to get your attention. If you give your sin to Him, healing will happen. If you rebel, a miserable existence and more hurt will happen. The fact that God is chastening you may simply mean that He loves you and wants to see you grow. That is hard to swallow at the time, but looking back it always brings a smile and thankful heart, despite the hurt that was needed to bring you to that point.
Look For the Accusers Love
If the accusations are true, and you realize it, what will you do with it? What does it say about you, and what does it say about the accuser? The accuser, hopefully, tells you the truth out of love so that you could change. Ideally, this is what should be the motive in every accusation – a desire for you to draw closer to God. This may even mean the person loves you, whether or not they express it appropriately. They may love you, but out of urgency, fear, or uncertainty take harsh steps to inform you. A loving person will hopefully see the motive, despite the method.
If the accusation was not done out of love, but out of sin such as mere gossip, enjoyment, pride, or a dislike for you, then it becomes much harder to face. Remember though, it is those who deserve love the least who need it the most. Love them.
True at the Time, but Not Anymore
This is another very hard time to relax in God’s sovereignty. Suppose the accusation was true, it caused conviction by the Holy Spirit in your life, you sought wise counsel, and you changed. Now what? The tendency is to stand up and shout, “Hey everyone, it was true, but look at what God has done to me since then!” Examine your motive here: if you are worried about looking good, it is wrong; if you are worried about God looking good, it is right. If your motive is that others may see what God has done in your life, by all means testify! Tell people that they can overcome! Tell people that your God has been working, changing you, and is always good!
2. Associatively Accused
What about things that happen where you are partly to blame but not solely responsible? It isn’t fair to take responsibility for things you didn’t do. But when you have an attitude that admits that even though what happened was mutual and the blame equal between you, taking responsibility sends a message…a message of maturity, seriousness, and love.
3. Falsely Accused
False accusations come in many forms. Sometimes gossip leads others to believe things about a person that are false. Sometimes, though, someone simply misunderstands. A misunderstanding is perhaps the most brutal of all because it implies that although something was in fact one way, it was perceived to be another way. Without verification and communication, misunderstandings can be passed on and grow, causing havoc to individuals, relationships, or even church bodies.
Nobody wants to see false accusations or misunderstandings ruin lives. Unfortunately, it is happens. We should naturally hate to see relationship ruined by lack of clear communication or misunderstanding. But hating it isn’t enough. Awareness isn’t enough. What should we do when it happens to us? What do you do when a close friend, a brother or sister at church, or a coworker hurts you and breaks your trust? There really is only one good answer — love them more.
When you are unable to explain, it creates a very helpless feeling. Knowing that you were falsely accused is not being defensive. It could lead to a defensive attitude though, if for example you are quick to stand up and point out that you are innocent. This attitude causes you to appear very defensive, and even guilty. An alternative approach is to say nothing. What? That’s right, back off, give it time, and discuss it with God. There is no better place to take it than to God. Ask His Spirit to reveal to you any truth in the accusation. Ask to be made aware of those things that would be causing God displeasure. Then, if you are convicted of truth, you have just saved your dignity by not reacting defensively. How foolish it would have looked to defend your reputation only to later find the accusers were indeed right, and you were wrong. No, it is always much easier to retreat and talk to God. He can take care of it much better than you.
So what if God affirms your innocence? What if those who are familiar with you and the situation confirm your innocence? You will feel some relief, but at the same time you feel the weight of the accusations and damaged reputation, friendship, and trust. You instinctively want to let them know that they are wrong, and you are right. That’s really when the hard part starts.
How could love overcome this? How could love bring any sense of justice and reconciliation? The love Jesus has overcomes sinners every day. The love Jesus has brings reconciliation every day. Why shouldn’t yours?
Jesus Our Example
We all know how Jesus was accused and put to death. Peter says it best:
“Honor all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king. Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward. For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judges righteously: Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.”
4. When We Are the Accuser
Sometimes we make accusations that are definitely true or turn out to be true. Then what? Does it feel good? When I do this I know I need to examine my motive. Then there are times we make accusations based on information that was biased, given out of pride, or given under stress, to the point that is passed on incorrectly. Other times we simply make them on our own observations. Either way, when we make false accusations, what should we do when we are convicted? Should we hide away in fear and wait until people forget it and life moves on? Should we act innocent, defend ourselves, and blame other people? The best thing to do is to communicate with the person we offended. Hopefully they are the type of person who will forgive easily. I know from experience that when someone forgives me for something, it makes a huge impact on me. It could tend to make you feel very relieved, so much that you forget the seriousness of it and end up making more careless accusations in the future. When someone says “I forgive you,” it is an incredible feeling. It shows that they truly are filled with the Spirit of God.
Love Always Wins!
“Really?” you may say. “I’ve loved, and it didn’t get me anywhere. It just hurt more.” This is true, it seems love doesn’t always win. But think about it: Love kept you from hate. Love kept you from retaliation. Love kept you from discrediting their reputation in return. Love defend them. Love said good things about them. Love thought good things about them. Love wanted their happiness. Love thanked God for them. Love fervently prayed for them. Love forgave them. Love pursues them. Love endures long to them. Love healed. Keep loving; await God’s amazing love to work in the situation.
Yeah, I say love always wins.