10 Ways to Defend Yourself When Falsely Accused

Posted by on Oct 5, 2012 in Faith | 0 comments

10 Ways to Defend Yourself When Falsely Accused

Jen was a hard worker and faithful employee. Her managers trusted her with a high level of responsibility, and over the years that she worked for them they increasingly trusted her more and more. Until Craig showed up. Craig didn’t like Jen. Jen didn’t completely understand why, but what she did understand was that Craig was higher up in the hierarchy than her, he held a position of power in the company, and he had an inside connection with the people who oversaw her job. A job that Jen had enjoyed and worked diligently at for years became, overnight, a nightmare. Day after day she went into an environment in which she was talked about behind her back, she was accused of things she didn’t and wouldn’t do, and she routinely had her character called into question to the people who paid her salary. This went on for years. Jen felt she had no recourse but to turn the situation over to God and then do her job to the best of her ability, with the same integrity and dedication she had always displayed. She feared she would lose her job along with her reputation daily, but she persisted in showing the truth through her actions. Eventually, Craig showed the truth about himself through his actions as well. Craig was exposed for lying not only about Jen, but also about several other important business matters. Jen was promoted and rewarded with a pay raise and the increased trust of her employer.

~

My close friend who I have known for years (but whose name is not really Jen) recently shared the above story with me. I knew her through all of those difficult years but never knew the full story of what she had endured or how it had ended so much in her favor. Her story reminded me that we all face false accusations at some point on some level, whether it is as serious as being accused of a crime you did not commit, as common as being gossiped about or maligned behind your back, or as simple as having your motives and character questioned. Jen’s story encouraged me because, in the end, her character spoke for itself and the truth was exposed. It reminded me of what I’ve learned over the years as I’ve felt misunderstood in different situations or watched people I love struggle with how to defend themselves against false accusations and character attacks.

10 (unconventional) ways to defend yourself if you are falsely accused, gossiped about, your character is questioned, or your motives are misunderstood…

1. Close your mouth

The temptation to speak up in your defense when falsely accused or questioned is unbelievably strong. You know it’s not true, you know all that is on the line if people hear the false accusations or gossip and believe what they hear, and it seems if you can just tell the truth then the whole matter will disappear.  In reality, I have found that regardless of what you say, some people will believe what they hear about you, but the people who truly believe in you will not believe lies about you. Writer Elbert Hubbard said, “Never explain – your friends don’t need it and your enemies won’t believe it.”

“Be still, and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10

“When He [Jesus] was accused by the chief priests and the elders, He gave no answer.” Matthew 27:12

2. Pray

Closing your mouth does not mean turning a blind eye to the accusations surrounding you. Action is important, but before you try to defend yourself the first course of action is to ask God to be your defense and show you how to respond.

Yes, they open their mouths wide against me; they say, Aha! Aha! Our eyes have seen it! You have seen this, O Lord; keep not silence! O Lord, be not far from me! Arouse Yourself, awake to the justice due me, even to my cause, my God and my Lord! Judge and vindicate me, O Lord my God, according to Your righteousness (Your rightness and justice); and let [my foes] not rejoice over me!” Psalm 35:21-24

3. Trust God to defend you

Jen waited years to see the evidence of God’s defense in her life – it was difficult, painful, and infuriating for her to wait, yet she resisted the urge to be her own defense or to go on the offense against her accuser. In the end, God made her look better than she could have made herself look. We humans lack the wisdom and knowledge to see the big picture and administer justice fairly and impartially when we have been wronged, but our God of justice knows just what to do.

“No weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed, and you shall confute every tongue that rises against you in judgment. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord and their vindication from me, declares the Lord.” Isaiah 54:17

“The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace and remain at rest.” Exodus 14:14

“Many seek an audience with a ruler, but it is from the Lord that one gets justice.” Proverbs 29:26

4. Let your life speak

Your actions always speak louder than your words. If you’re not caught up in trying to defend yourself or do damage control, you are free to move forward living your life as the wonderful person that you are at heart. The way you live your life will absolutely reveal the truth about you and your character over time, no matter what anyone else says about you.

“Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but he who makes his ways crooked will be found out.” Proverbs 10:9

5. Build your character

Like any difficult trial, the silver lining of living through false accusations or gossip is that it comes with an opportunity for personal growth. The patience and steadfastness required to get through the pain can make you more dependent on God, more humble, more compassionate, less likely to gossip or accuse others, more able to watch your own actions and rise above petty disagreements.

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” James 1:2-4

And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope.” Romans 5:3-4

6. Build your faith

Many great heroes of the Bible survived false accusations, often to the point of apparent ruin. Joseph, Moses, David, Job, and Jesus were falsely accused and suffered greatly as a result – loss of possessions, family, reputation, freedom, and even life. Yet in each case, there came a time of redemption  in which all of the suffering was worked into a plan for their greater good and they were promoted into a position of honor and favor.  Reading through these stories and the Psalms provides great encouragement and comfort. Waiting on God and seeing Him come through for you builds deep faith.

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1

“Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith you shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.” Ephesians 6:16

“For there is a happy end to the man of peace.” Psalm 37:37

7. Find forgiveness

Your accuser has wounded you and may even have cost you something, so the natural reaction is anger, rage, vindictiveness.  The problem is, your anger rarely hurts your accuser but it does hurt you.  It is at times seemingly impossible, but it is crucial to find forgiveness and stay free from offense so that you can move on free from hindrances and reminders of the past.

“Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.” 1 Peter 3:9

8. Find a friend

There is incredible loneliness, isolation, and helplessness in living with false accusations or as a victim of gossip.  You need someone who believes in you and knows your true character to encourage and walk with you.  It may surprise you who ends up on your side and who ends up against you, but focus on and invest in those who believe in you.

“If one falls down, his friend can help him up.” Ecclesiastes 4:10

9. Stay true to yourself

In the face of false accusations or character attacks, it can be easy to question yourself, to become discouraged, and to feel a need to overcompensate by proving your worth.  Ask God to show you your faults and part in what has happened, but then move forward in confidence that you’re right with Him, forgiven for any mistake you’ve made, and cleared of accusations in His eyes.

“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139:23-24

10. Take necessary action

Often there is action to take to protect yourself or your family, depending on the severity of the accusations or gossip. I have seen people I respect hire attorneys and launch campaigns to gather support in the face of being accused of a crime, and I have seen others I respect shake the gossip off and more or less ignore it when it was less serious. After taking the time to get quiet, pray, and ask God for His wisdom and protection, you will have a much clearer sense of any action you should take without being motivated by vindictiveness, bitterness, offense, or anger.

If you are discouraged and disheartened at the trouble that false accusations, gossip, or character assassinations have stirred in your life, I hope you are encouraged that our God hates gossip and lies and that He is a protector of the innocent.

“A troublemaker and a villain,
who goes about with a corrupt mouth,
who winks maliciously with his eye,
signals with his feet
and motions with his fingers,
who plots evil with deceit in his heart—
he always stirs up conflict.
Therefore disaster will overtake him in an instant;
he will suddenly be destroyed—without remedy.

There are six things the Lord hates,
seven that are detestable to him:
haughty eyes,
a lying tongue,
hands that shed innocent blood,
a heart that devises wicked schemes,
feet that are quick to rush into evil,
a false witness who pours out lies
and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.”

Proverbs 6:12-19


 

 

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