Chances are good that many of you who are reading these lines are currently the target of someone’s lying accusations. That can be an anguishing cross to bear. I’ve been there, so I speak from painful experience. Since this is an ongoing issue for many of us, it should be helpful to draw a few guidelines to follow based on the way Job handled his accuser.
Listen to what is being said, considering the character of the critic. Stay calm! You will be tempted to jump in and rashly react in the flesh, saying things you will later regret. Do your best to listen to what is being said. While doing so, keep in mind the character of the person who is the source of the accusation. Calmly take it all in. Job did that, which prepared him for his further response.
Respond with true facts and accurate information, knowing the nature of your accuser. Speak truth! Stay on the side of accuracy, regardless. The other person may be a former husband or former wife. He or she could be your previous or current boss, an employee, a neighbor, a pastor, or a friend. It doesn’t matter who the individual is. If you are being accused, you need to focus only on facts. Don’t react or ponder ways to retaliate. If you yield to either temptation, you’ll come off sounding like the accuser. God honors integrity. Maybe not immediately, but ultimately you’ll be vindicated. Remember David’s prayer: “Vindicate me, O LORD, for I have walked in my integrity” (Psalm 26:1). Truth will prevail among people who traffic in it and make their decisions based on it.
Abraham Lincoln was told that he needed to fire his postmaster general. All kinds of accusations were being leveled against the man. Lincoln weighed rumor against hard evidence, and on July 18, 1864, he wrote Secretary Stanton a letter saying he was not going to do that because the information was based on hearsay, not accurate facts. In that letter he correctly concluded, “Truth is generally the best vindication against slander.” Wise response.
Stay with the truth. Don’t exaggerate it, don’t deny it, and don’t hesitate to say it.
Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.