It is a very disheartening thing to have untrue things being said about you. Most of us want people to think well of us at least in a general fashion. Our reputation can be tarnished enough by our true mistakes and accidental failures. Who needs an untruth leveled at them?
The first thought that comes to mind is to defend yourself. But that is not always possible. If the accusations come from someone close to you, you can hopefully go to them and discover what is behind it all. Maybe it is simply a misunderstanding – in that case it can be easily resolved.
If the problem arises between two Christians, the Bible gives us great direction for resolving conflict in Matthew chapter 18:15-17
“If another believer sins against you, go privately and point out the fault. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back. But if you are unsuccessful, take one or two others with you and go back again, so that everything you say may be confirmed by two or three witnesses. If that person still refuses to listen, take your case to the church. If the church decides you are right, but the other person won’t accept it, treat that person as a pagan or a corrupt tax collector.”
Hopefully, if the first step (going to them privately) is done in love, there will be a rapid resolution and healing of the relationship. In the difficult situations where the second and third steps are required, it is important that you guard your heart from taking offense or developing bitterness towards the other person.
If you do all and still there is no resolution – what then? Verse 17 says to treat the person as a pagan or a corrupt tax collector. Considering that these words came directly from Jesus’ mouth – I guess we should look at how he treated pagans and tax collectors.
Who comes to mind first? Zaccheaus and Matthew!
Jesus didn’t treat tax collectors badly – he responded to them with love and an expectancy that they would one day have changed lives.
Wow. Can we do that? Can we love and expect the best from someone who has made false accusations against us and who will not back down despite the involvement of spiritual authorities?
Sure we can. We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us!
My flesh wants to defend myself. My flesh wants an apology! But, if that is not how it works out, my flesh is going to have to die a little bit and allow God’s grace to take over. The Bible has this to say about my instinct towards self defense:
Exodus 14:14 – “The LORD himself will fight for you.
You won’t have to lift a finger in your defense!”
If you have pursued biblical restoration and have submitted yourself to your spiritual authorities and obeyed their direction to no avail, you will have to trust that the truth will one day come out and Satan will get his due. Whether we ever see that day on earth is not up to us and we can choose to trust God with our defense!