All of us in our relationships with others may have been at the receiving end of insults and false accusations before. We may have reacted in various ways: anger, retaliation, bitterness, animosity and sometimes we may even sever relationships with those involved. But are these the best of reactions?
In the Scriptures, there are examples of people who were falsely accused or insulted for wrongs they didn’t commit. Joseph was wrongly accused by Potiphar’s wife for sexual harassment and ended up in jail (Genesis 39:7-20). David received insults from Shimei of the house of Saul when his son Absalom revolted against his reign and attempted to overthrow him (2 Samuel 15; 16:15-13). The first Christian Martyr, Stephen was also falsely accused and eventually murdered (Acts 6:12-13; 7:60). The list cannot end without mentioning the rejection of our Lord Jesus Christ. He was falsely accused, maltreated, insulted and eventually killed on the cross. Even on the cross, he was mocked
And when they came to the place that is called The Skull, there they crucified him, and the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” And they cast lots to divide his garments. And the people stood by, watching, but the rulers scoffed at him, saying, “He saved others; let him save himself, if he is the Christ of God, his Chosen One!” The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine and saying, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!” There was also an inscription over him, “This is the King of the Jews.” One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, “Are you not j the Christ? Save yourself and us (Luke 23:33-39).
Paul, writing to the Ephesian church about how they are to walk as believers, outlined certain traits which we will further consider addressing the issue of Overcoming Insults And False Accusations.
Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you (Ephesians 4:31-32).
Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.
Earlier, I stated that the response towards false accusations and insults may vary from person to person ranging from anger, bitterness, retaliation, bitterness, etc. And how Paul advocates for these to be dealt with was that we put away these negative emotions. To put aways something is to do away with it; don’t have anything to do with it. It can also mean throwing it away or putting a stop to engaging in an activity. And this is the first thing we are to do with our negation emotions towards false accusations and insults: Put Away.
Be Kind To One Another
Be kind to one another
As humans, we cannot avoid showing resentment towards those who hurt us. However, as Christians, we are not to regard anyone who hurts us as an enemy. We must learn to live at peace with people; even those who persecute us (Matthew. 5:44; Romans 12:18). Be kind– don’t retaliate; don’t pay them an eye for eye and tooth for a tooth. Display the love of God to them through your kindness. The Scripture says be tenderhearted; that is, be sympathetic. Treat these people from the point of knowing where you assume they don’t know what they are doing. Pray God rather let them know where they may have faulted against you.
Forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you
To forgive is to not hold grudges against people. At the beginning of this article, we saw some examples of persons in the Scripture, who were falsely accused and insulted. However, they didn’t hold anything against their malefactors. Rather, they found a place in their hearts to forgive. And that is how they were able to overcome those false accusations. As Christians, we are required to forgive, regardless of what harm has been caused us. In the Lord’s prayer, we are taught to pray “forgive us, as we forgive those who trespass against us” (Matthew 6:14-15). Forgiveness is required of us because Christ has forgiven us. And that is Paul’s point: “forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”
For the Christian, forgiveness is not optional. It is a mark of our Christianity. We forgive because we have been forgiven.
Apart from these three points from Paul, the Lord Jesus Christ also offered some lessons about what may be termed conflict resolution. And we will apply these lessons for the rest of the article.
If your brother sins against you, n go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector (Matthew 18:15-17).
These lessons may be peculiar to conflict between fellow believers, nonetheless, it can apply to all conflict resolution between people who may all not be believers. However, the context of this post assumes conflict between believers. Many people walk about with anger towards people who are not even aware they have offended someone.
So firstly, Jesus commands a One on One approach. When people offend us, we must first approach them and layout our grievances. Speak to them and let them know where we feel hurt by them. They may not even be aware they may have hurt us. However, if we approach them and they don’t acknowledge their wrong; Jesus offers a Third Party approach. If you speak to a person directly about their wronging you and they reject it, then Jesus offers the next option: take them to the church. I believe that means the leaders of the church which suppose you all may belong to the same church. If that option fails, Ignore them since you have exhausted all means available to iron out your differences as it were. “Let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector”
These points shared I believe will be beneficial in our relationship with one another.