Responding to Accusation
Proverbs 30:8 "Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me:"
Luke 12:11-12 "11 And when they bring you unto the synagogues, and unto magistrates, and powers, take ye no thought how or what thing ye shall answer, or what ye shall say: 12 For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say."
We all have conflict. Friction both smooths us and refines us, like sandpaper. Friction is also necessary when you want to have any traction. Without friction, tires won't grip and move your vehicle further down your chosen path. But there are appropriate and inappropriate ways to deal with conflict. When conflict occurs, the natural reaction is to blame someone else and defend yourself. But true followers of Christ must respond differently. Have you ever been falsely accused? Have you been lied on? Have you been misrepresented? Has someone you trusted as a confidante then repeated your private information to others? I have. Anytime you are in the public eye, in service, in a leadership position... you are fair game for people to talk about. In my experience, I was falsely accused of something in a public forum. I could have responded (and rightly so) in a manner that showed indignation, that annihilated the accuser, and that - while technically correct - would have caused more damage and further division, which defeats the purpose of moving forward and unity. Being right isn't always the right answer. Thankfully, the Lord enabled me to remain calm rather than react angrily. The older I get, I am learning that praying first is always the best response in a crisis. When we do, God supernaturally provides mental gymnastics, brings details to our remembrance, and provides oration skills which we can't muster up ourselves.
· Spiritual discernment. The Lord, who perfectly understands the source of every problem, can give us insight beyond our limited perspective. Perhaps there's been a communication breakdown, a feeling of jealousy on the other person's part, or a mistake we unknowingly made. The Holy Ghost can show us how to approach our accuser and see beyond hurtful words or actions.
· A quiet spirit. Our human nature wants to react quickly so that we can defend ourselves. That's why we must first deliberately focus our attention on the Lord and experience the inward peace He alone makes available to us (John 14:27).
· Wisdom. Jesus told His disciples the Holy Spirit would give them wise words to say when they faced hostile authorities. He'll do the same for you. Ask Him to put a seal on your lips until He shows you what to say and when (Ps. 141:3).
It's freeing to realize that we don't have to react to criticism with anger and self-protection the way the world does. If/When someone brings drama to your doorstep - you don't have to partake. People that want to publicly criticize, lie, or malign you don't have to have your reaction. We are taught to join in the fray, get into online flame wars, flip tables and generally act poorly. That is celebrated, but it's not necessary and you can break that cycle. Remember, we are called to represent Christ in every situation by depending on Him. In responding as He directs, we bring Him glory and cause unbelievers to want to know the source of our strength.