“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”
It’s a common phrase we use, especially as children, when we try to deflect hurtful words spoken to us or about us. But if we’re honest with ourselves, those words can cut deeper than we think. I’ve had situations in life when hurtful, untrue things were said about me to other people, and I was judged based on those slanderous statements.
It’s wrong. It’s painful. It’s frustrating.
If this has happened to you, and you are in a season of hurt and pain from untrue words spoken about you, whether inflicted by friends, loved ones, coworkers, church members or strangers who don’t even know you…I am SO sorry!
In my personal experience, people who falsely accuse others or say slanderous things are often acting from a place of unhappiness, pride, selfishness, jealousy, or hurt.
One thing I learned quickly is that the devil can use untrue things spoken against me as a tool to cripple me with insecurity, fear, doubt, stress, anxiety, bitterness, unforgiveness, offense, and self-accusation.
Don’t let him have this kind of power over you. The person spewing slander is not your enemy; satan is. “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” (Ephesians 6:12).
I was recently reading the Bible when a portion of Nehemiah 6 really hit me. Nehemiah was in the process of rebuilding the wall in Jerusalem, when he found out his enemies were saying all sorts of untrue things about him and his intentions.
His reply in verse 8 is awesome: “…Such things as you are saying have not been done; you are inventing them in your own mind.” Seems like an appropriate response when someone is basically lying about you; but in the subsequent verses, the way Nehemiah handled this false accusation is challenging and motivating.
1. WHEN ACCUSATION TRIES TO FRIGHTEN YOU, RESPOND WITH PRAYER AND STRENGTH.
In Nehemiah 6:9-10, Nehemiah says: “They (the enemies) were all trying to frighten us, thinking ‘Their hands will get too weak for the work, and it will not be completed.’ But I prayed, ‘Now strengthen my hands.’”
The enemy tried to frighten and discourage them from building the wall, but Nehemiah and the Jews prayed to God to strengthen them. Is someone or something trying to scare or deter you from doing what is right or from fulfilling God’s calling on your life? Pray to God for strength to stand firm and to stay focused on the task in front of you.
2. WHEN ACCUSATION TRIES TO INTIMIDATE YOU AND GIVE YOU A BAD NAME, RESPOND WITH ACTION AND CONFIDENCE.
In Nehemiah 6:10-13, we learn that Nehemiah’s enemies had hired one of his “friends” to pretend to protect him from a false death threat. Nehemiah realized his friend had been bought by his enemies to intimidate him and say false things about him in order to halt progress of the wall. Scripture doesn’t say that Nehemiah said a word about the false death threat or his friend’s betrayal. Instead, he responded with action–he confidently finished building the wall.
Nehemiah didn’t waste time by validating his enemies’ numerous attempts at distracting him or by harboring unforgiveness and bitterness.
After the wall of Jerusalem was built, it was a testament to all the surrounding nations that the Jews finished this with God’s help. It showed that God was truly with them.
By not letting accusation distract us, we are free to complete the task at hand.
Do not let someone’s false words or hurtful actions derail you from fulfilling God’s purposes, plans, and callings on your life.
“You are deserting to the Babylonians!”
“It is not true!” Jeremiah said. “I am not deserting the Babylonians.”
But Irijah would not listen to him; instead, he arrested Jeremiah and brought him to the officials.” Jeremiah 37:13-14
False accusations are like daggers to the heart. They cut deeply and they hurt profoundly. False accusers have a variety of origins, but most invite you to defend yourself which the Bible says we do not need to do.
We have to remain still and let the Lord and the facts vindicate your position.
In the meantime deal with false accusations with truth, grace and pure motives.
Be careful not to falsely accuse your assailants and let others become your defenders. The banner of truth will be held high as those who know you stand by your side. It may be many or it may only be a few. Regardless of the size of your support, stay focused on God.
“Do not turn me over to the desire of my foes, for false witnesses rise up against me, spouting malicious accusations” (Psalm 27:12).
Pray that your life, under fire, will be a blaze of blessing for many others who have suffered under the burden of injustice. It is imperative that you are consumed with Christ and not your false accusers.
Feel empathy for them, yes. Pray for them, yes. Forgive them, yes. Fear them, NO.
Fear God only and forgive your false accusers.
Jesus walked this lonely road of false accusations. He forgave them because He knew they really didn’t know what they were doing. He gave them over to God and trusted Him with vindication in His timing.
The road of injustice is not an easy one to travel, so travel with Jesus. Let him drive the process and trust Him with the results. “Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34).
So much is out of your control, except your attitude. Be grateful for your ever-enduring advocate, Jesus, who stands by your side. He is your defense and your refuge as the rain of false accusations beat down on your life.
Don’t give up on Him; He has not given up on you. He will see you through. Adversity with Jesus is much better than smooth sailing without Him. Your prayers and His peace will sustain you.
“At the king’s command, the men who had falsely accused Daniel were brought in and thrown into the lions’ den…” (Daniel 6:24).
Am I consumed by Christ or my accusers? Do I trust God and have I forgiven them?
Karen Harmon is a wife, homeschooling mom, physical therapist, and worship leader who enjoys writing, traveling, reading, sports, coffee shops, cozy chairs, and having a lot of fun with family and friends. “I am passionate about encouraging women to live and lead fully and intentionally in all their many roles…without forgetting to have fun and to enjoy life along the way”.