Confusion. Dismay. Defensiveness. Fear. Anxiety. Panic.
There is a particular sting to being accused. To be caught doing something wrong is one thing, and it leads to remorse and shame. Accusation when we know we’re actually innocent, though, is maddening.
When we are accused of anything, even when it is a wrong accusation, there is a hanging reality that we are not perfectly innocent, that there is a dark room within our soul of which even we are scared to unlock the door. At least some of the anxiety, defensiveness, and dismay stems from fear of being found out. What if people knew exactly how much of a fraud we feel like at times? What if they expose something major, even if we can’t see what that might be? That fear will drive us to try to protect our reputations at all costs.
Accusation can also cause an internal spiral. We aren’t fully innocent, and we know it. When a friend stands against us it can drive us deep into the hills of introspection, determined to find the specter that now hangs over our hearts, and to achieve and prove our innocence.
Jesus stood accused. He was perfectly innocent and he knew every flaw and every thought of every one of his accusers. The people he created turned against him. The people he loved and had come to save had been stirred up to hate him. And yet, he did not get defensive. There was no attempt to prove his own innocence.
He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
yet he opened not his mouth;
like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,
so he opened not his mouth.
When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly.
1 Peter 2:23
How was Jesus able to stand silently in the face of ugly, wrongful accusation? He trusted God, his Father. Even faced with the highest of human courts, Jesus knew that Pilate wouldn’t have the final word. He knew that there was an ultimate judge, and Jesus trusted him. When faced with wrongful accusation, the real question for the Christian is – Do you trust God, the ultimate judge, to judge justly? Can you rest in His perfect judgment?
Questions to ponder:
- Is there sin that you are hiding? What is stopping you from repenting and experiencing freedom in Christ?
- When have you been wrongly accused? How did it feel? How did you respond?
- Why is it hard to trust God with your reputation?
– Bill Riedel