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There are few things more frustrating than being wrongly accused. I remember trying to bring peace to a situation where two people were at each other’s throats. No matter what I tried, one person was unwilling to come to the table. This person refused to be reconciled because the other person accused her of doing wrong when she had not. Something about being told you have done wrong when you have not becomes an irritant like a burr in between your shirt and skin. Everything you do causes the burr to move, and you are constantly reminded it is there. It is the same when people make false accusations against us—we try to forget it and move on, but as we go about our days, things constantly remind us of the slight. Many people lose their lives over this.

When I was getting ready for my first pastorate, I had a lot of suits that needed to be tailored. So, I went to an old lady with a reputation for being good at her job. I called before I arrived, and she made something very clear—her shop was the one with the yellow sign, not the one with the white one. This detail mattered greatly to her because another lady moved in next door, opened a tailor shop with the same name. The only difference was the color of the sign. My tailor spent our whole visit telling me how terrible her neighbor was, and every word revolved around the most grievous offense known to man—the new neighbor was dragging her good name through the mud by doing inferior work. (As an aside, I have had to get almost all my suits re-sown because her work was not very good!).

This woman was obsessed by the slight to her name. She made every interaction with other people all about her plight. This root of bitterness brings some people to isolation and self-destructive habits.

But the Bible says the curses of others are a blessing if we accept it. King David was marching along one day when a raving lunatic came out of the woods and cursed him: “You worthless man! … your evil is on you, for you are a man of blood” (2 Sam 16:7b, 8b). Kings care about their reputation, and they have reputations for killing those who speak to them this way. One of David’s soldiers energetically offered to go over to this “dead dog” and “take off his head” (2 Sam 16:9). Yet David does not do what my tailor would have loved to do to her neighbor. Rather than extending the sword, David cast pearls of humility before himself and his accusers. David believed that this accusation might actually bring blessing. He said, “It may be that the Lord will look on the wrong done to me, and that the Lord will repay me with good for his cursing today” (2 Sam 16:12). Ambrose says, “When [David] was cursed he hoped to gain divine pity.”

When people accuse you of wrong, try something different. Turn off your original-sin-auto-pilot that compels you to fly into a defensive rage, and try accepting what the person says about you with humility. Yes, the accusation will hurt, but perhaps God will pity you. Is He your loving Father? Is He the God of truth? He loves you and He loves truth. So often, we forfeit this pity of God when we knee-jerk react to the curses hurled our way. If we are patient, God’s mercy will reign upon us as it did His Beloved Son.



I like this reflection, Rob.  I have to face this regularly in my professional work, and recently in a fairly acute manner.  As the Holy Spirit has worked sanctification in my heart and life, I have gotten steadily better at not reacting.  There is a time and place to defend oneself in words and actions, but allowing oneself to be insulted without any response is often the most beneficial path.  As I have become more practiced at remaining silent, I have found that God often will provide for my vindication himself - and sometime not, and that's ok too.

Thank you; this is a good measure for us all in church leadership.

One small caveat though that I’d like to mention is that David clearly held the “power position.”  He was the one who held dominance over his accusers. When the tables are turned and the person with very little voice or power is falsely accused, the dynamic can be very different— and possibly even abusive. Still it may be best to walk away, but that person has now suffered doubly at the hands of their accuser. The hard question then should be asked if the vulnerable person is falsely accused should some things be brought to light? 

May God grant those who are vulnerable and falsely accused an even greater measure of His provision and help them find a way forward..


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