Saturday, July 28, 2012

on being unfairly accused

Well well, how timely my last post was. Such is life -- we can be going along our happy way and then we meet someone who sees fit to intrude and steal our peace. This afternoon I got a taste of this -- I was the fortunate recipient of an accusation which I'd never expected.

I'd often read in my devotions, and heard pastors preach on, false accusations. While like most people I've certainly had people think unfairly of me, I'd always managed to shrug it off. After all, we can't expect all the people to like us all the time. It was easy to do that, because those people and situations were usually far divided from me by time or space, or both.

Today, however, a lady accused me of something that was so inaccurate, so off the mark, that in the immediate, I was speechless. Without going into too much detail, I guessed that she had been misinformed, and had jumped to her own mistaken conclusions. The other person in question had clearly not been honest with her, and had probably even pushed the blame to me, with the upshot being that she essentially accused me of something I hadn't done.

Obviously, the primary vexation that arises from being unfairly accused is the unpleasant feeling that someone thinks badly of us. The fact is, what she accused me of, or what she thought (thinks) of me, should have been said to the other person instead. But she is in a relationship of trust and faith with that individual, and as often happens, we would rather think ill of an outsider than a close friend.

The fact is, that other person had been purely an acquaintance to me for over a year, no more important to me than any other person I would meet in that same transient, intermittent context; and I never gave them more thought than, say, the server at McDonald's. They were simply someone I'd meet briefly out of obligation, and wouldn't think about once they were out of sight.

However, for whatever reason, that person suddenly saw fit to tell me certain things some weeks ago, which I'd never had the foggiest clue about before. Well, I told them plainly, and more than once, that there was no point saying such things, that nothing good could come of them, and the sooner they forgot about them the better.

And so, I am not upset with that lady; it isn't her fault if she had been lied to, if she had been left to misconstrue from random bits and pieces of information taken out of context. But certainly I am not happy with the other person, who deceived and misled her, for their own selfish ends.

But, in much the same way as I held my tongue when replying to her, I will not react to that other person in "wrath and indignation". I know in my spirit that no good will come of doing so. It is, ultimately, not very hard for me to just forget about the person, as mentioned above; I have actually not seen or spoken to them at all for weeks now -- since the day of their silly "revelation" in fact -- I hardly spoke or saw them even prior to that anyway. Sadly, I suppose this lady does not know or believe that.

Which just makes me sigh.
Now I understand what those people mentioned in devotions and sermons felt when they were unfairly accused, and thought mistakenly of. My own husband knows all the details of this piece of folly -- he is my best friend, and I tell him everything; yes, even people's silly "revelations" -- and he just shrugs and says, "O well, what can you do. Just let it go. In the end, it's between them".

I know this is true, and I thank God He led me to say and do the right thing, but I still feel troubled. The fact is, even at the time of "the revelation", I'd felt led to pray for them, and I did do so, several times in fact. Now I feel compelled to do so again, and to also pray for peace and the renewal of hearts.

With sadness, I told my girlfriend at church about what had happened, and she sent me this excellent article by Pastor Ray Pritchard, entitled When You Are Unfairly Accused. Perhaps if you've ever been in a similar situation, it will help you too. Or perhaps it will in the future.

"Sometimes our motives will be questioned. Sometimes our words will be twisted. Sometimes we will be ostracized for our views. Sometimes we will be deliberately misquoted. Sometimes we will be the victims of a whispering campaign where we can’t even pin down the things said against us. The point to remember here is that these things will happen from time to time...

"Check out Ephesians 4:2. 'Always be humble and gentle. Patiently put up with each other and love each other' Did you get that? 'Patiently put up with each other'. The NASB says 'showing tolerance for each other'...

"It’s possible that in our haste to defend ourselves, we will talk too much, too soon, and with too much emotion. There are times when we need to speak the truth, but in those moments we must speak the truth in love. State the facts, lay out the truth as you see it, don’t presume to judge another person’s heart (even if they are unfairly judging yours), and don’t say anything in a heated moment that you will regret later.

"Sometimes the Lord uses these very painful times to move us on to new ministries and new areas of service... I don’t think we can always see in advance what God may be doing in these times of trouble. Speak the truth in love and leave the results in God’s hands.

"Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life" (Prov 4:23). We desperately need that reminder when we are under attack... How do we do that? Here are a few suggestions...

Stay in the Word.
Repeat the promises of God.
Listen to Christian music.
Sing a lot -- out loud.
Hang out with positive people.
Ask your friends to hold you accountable for how you respond.
Pray that Christ might be magnified in your life.
Keep an eye out for 'God sightings'.
Stay busy serving others.
Practice daily repentance.
Give thanks that God is working in ways you can't imagine through these attacks.
Pray for those who have unfairly accused you.

"I don't believe in "miracle prayers" that allow you to say a few words and then wash away the deep pain of life. But I do believe in forgiving again and again and again...

"Put your life and reputation in God’s hands. It's easier to do this when life is going well and everyone loves you and you have no problems, no worries, and everything is right in your world. It's a lot harder to put your life in God's hands when you feel the pressure of constant criticism. But that's when we most need God's help. And if we feel like we can't trust the Lord when we are unfairly accused, we need to ponder these words:

"To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in His mouth. 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" (1 Peter 2:21-23)...

"You find out what you really believe when others mistreat you. Sometimes the real test of your faith is what you don't do. Sometimes you'll be a better Christian by not saying anything at all" (extracted from When You Are Unfairly Accused, by Pastor Ray Pritchard. Read the entire article here).

And I'm sorry, I don't have a nice picture for this post. I'm just too tired.


AntiquityTravelers said...

So sorry my friend. Hugs going out to you

Unknown said...

I know it is not easy dealing with people. Stay strong and I hope you feel better soon!

Unknown said...

Oh dear I'm so sorry. These things happen.Sometimes its easier to look for a "scapegoat" than address the real root issues that existed way before you came on the scene. I've experienced it myself and believe that keeping peaceful really is the best. Chances are the lady is wise enough to hear, or sense, your sincerity. Trust God to bring about peace and good in this.

Beth said...

I'm so sorry you had this experience, Janice. Unfortunately, I know all too well the feeling of knowing someone has spread blatant falsehoods about you. It feels especially horrible when there seems to be no way of defending yourself or making the truth known. Thank you for the article with the suggestions for how to handle it---they were very good. One way that I've found a measure of peace is to pray simply that God will make the truth known, that the truth will become clear to all concerned. Sometimes, that has actually happened--I'm always grateful when it does. A big hug to you as you deal with this hurt...

Dawn said...

Janice, I have experienced this same thing. I was unfairly accused at one time in my adult life which threatened my entire morality and work ethic. It was scary. God knew and I knew the truth which is all that mattered. I am sorry that you had to experience this too. It stinks but God will handle it, he did for me. Also, your posts collages are so ethereal and beautiful...have a great day. dawn suitcase vignettes xo

ladydazy said...

People can be our best and worst medicine. You quoted great scriptures and points to remember when dealing with the hardness of others. I know time will help!

Elena said...

OH MY GOSH I LOVE THIS!! This happened to me with a blogger friend I loved dearly and have now lost. I was so hurt/confused but now that I look back upon the incident realize I have grown tremendously because of it. Love this post...hugs new friend!


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