Have you ever been on someone’s “hit list?” Have you been in the cross hairs of an individual who wanted to damage your reputation? What is the usual response to such an attack? More importantly, what is a biblical response to personal attack?
The hurt and surprise of being personally attacked and falsely accused of something seems to bring out the worst in us, even as Christians.
It is much more familiar and frankly, much more comfortable for us to respond in the flesh. A fleshly response looks like anger, vindictiveness, bitterness, and a desire to strike back and defend yourself.
What is a godly response to being falsely accused? The very first thing to remember is that you are in great company! The Lord Jesus Christ was falsely accused of many things throughout His life here on earth, the greatest of which was blasphemy. Paul was accused of bringing false teaching, and of preaching for personal gain. Those who followed Christ and His teachings throughout history have been lied about, slandered, ridiculed, and slain for their faith and their character.
What was the response of those who were falsely accused of sin? The Lord Jesus spoke the truth against the lies, and He spoke it to those who were the offenders. We see this throughout the Gospels. Paul clarified what he did and did not do, and what he said and did not say in 2 Corinthians as he defended himself against false accusations by those who would cause him trouble.
It is not wrong to defend yourself against false accusations, but how you do it is important. First, you must be factual in your responses. Resist the urge to drag everything into your defense that you don’t like about the person who is accusing you. Stick to the issues.
Be clear and concise in your answers and be kind. Writing out your response and reviewing it many times is very helpful in paring down the language and removing sarcastic or negative retorts to the person you are responding to.
Respond with grace. The most difficult to achieve, and the most impossible without the help of the Lord in the Person of the Holy Spirit. The last thing on my mind when I am being attacked and accused is to put the grace of Christ on display, but it has to become the first thing.
My mind must be renewed (Rom 12:1-2) to the point that displaying grace becomes my default position! My accuser stands next to me at the foot of the cross, washed in the same blood that I am covered with.
The goal is always restoration and reconciliation in these relationships. Even though your perspectives may be vastly different on the issues one thing remains- you will spend eternity with that person if they are a Believer. Is what you are disagreeing over, or trying to settle truly sin? Is it worth all the time and effort and energy being spent fussing over it? Is it possible that you can let it go?
Sometimes it is not possible because the other party is sinning against you by gossiping or slandering you. When this is the case, you must confront according to Matt 18 and follow it through to the end.
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