I was sitting in a Bible study recently and we were talking about all the different types of suffering we might encounter. Immediately, major life events were brought up: losing a job, losing a spouse, divorce, children struggling, and health issues. But a sweet friend of mine slowly raised her hand and boldly shared about a pain that many single moms experience: the pain of being falsely accused. How do we even begin to cope when this happens? Let’s look at three truths the Bible tells us to remember when we are falsely accused:
1. Cry out to God. I love how we get to see David’s emotions on full display in the book of Psalms. David was considered a man after God’s own heart, but his life was anything but perfect. He was falsely accused often, and when he was, what did he do? He didn’t run around town talking about it to anyone who would listen. Instead, he poured out his emotions to God.
One example is Psalm 26, where we see David cry out to God for vindication. Yet after he pours out his emotions, he always reminds himself of who God is and promises to continue to serve him even in the midst of hardship. I love these words at the end of the psalm: “But as for me, I shall walk in my integrity; redeem me, and be gracious to me. My foot stands on level ground; in the great assembly I will bless the Lord” (vv. 11-12).
2. Reconcile if possible. My dad used to say when I was younger, “Kelly, if you were walking down the street and that person who wronged you were to be walking by, live in such a way where you never have to be the one to cross to the other side of the street. If they decide they don’t want to see you and they hide, so be it. But as much as you can, treat them in a way where you can look them in the eye when you see them, knowing you have done nothing wrong.”
When someone lies about us, often our first instinct is to fight back. But Romans 12 tells us “so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” This means when possible, we must seek to reconcile. Reach out to the person who is hurling accusations and ask them if you have caused hurt. Tell them you would like to fix it. Now, this is NOT always possible or safe, especially if this person is abusive. You could have done everything in your power to try and reconcile and it still ends with you setting boundaries to protect yourself. When that happens, trust God and live your life.
3. Trust that God will handle it. The rest of that passage in Romans 12 reminds us of something very important: “Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God” (vs.19). You can do everything you can to live in peace, but the other person keeps saying lies about you. This is the point where in your own heart you forgive them, refuse to say bad things about them, and just trust God. Remember that forgiveness is for you, not for the offending person. It prevents bitterness from setting up in your heart and frees you from carrying around those feelings that can produce unhealthy fruit.
God sees and knows, and I firmly believe that what is done in the darkness, he always brings to the light. We just need to live our lives, trusting him.