This is Part 1 of a 2 part message.
It has happened to me, more than once, and it has probably happened to you. You may have been blind sided or it might have erupted out of a conflict or disagreement you had with someone. The next thing you know, there’s a half truth, an exaggeration, or maybe a completely unfounded lie out there about you. Whatever it is, it makes you look bad, and it makes them look like the victim.
It hurts, especially when it comes from someone you trusted, or should have been able to trust. It hurts even more when people you thought knew you better than that, just accept it, believe it and don’t even question it.
We know the Bible tells us we should prefer one another in love
Finally, all of you should be of one mind, full of sympathy toward each other, loving one another with tender hearts and humble minds.1 Peter 3:8 NLT
It just doesn’t always work that way, even among believers, and those who should know better. Peter goes on to say
Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you.1 Peter 3:9b
You may be desperate to tell the truth, to clear it up, to vindicate yourself, and expose the lie, as well as the liar. The reality is, if they were willing to lie about you, and others were willing to believe the lie, they really don’t care about the truth. Truth is not nearly as much fun as gossip and speculation.
We are not the only ones to have endured this kind of treatment from others.
Satan accused God of lying to Eve, and because she believed him, the Garden was lost, and sin came into the world. Potiphar’s wife lied about Joseph, and he ended up in prison. (Genesis 39) Jezebel lied about Naboth, he was killed, and his ancestral vineyard turned into a vegetable garden for Jezebel’s husband, Ahab. (1 Kings 21) They lied about Jesus, and he ended up on a cross.
It’s nothing new. You might wonder what you ever did to deserve to be treated that way. Honestly, you may have just been in the way of someone else’s agenda.
Satan had his own agenda. So did Potiphar’s wife and Jezebel, too. Someone may have purposely set you up. Daniel’s fellow advisors to King Darius did just that. They knew Daniel would never bow down to another god, so they trapped King Darius into making a decree Daniel would not follow, and then exposed him when he did exactly what they thought he would do. He would defy the decree and go ahead and pray to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He ended up in a den full of hungry lions. Their motivation was jealousy.
Jealousy is one of the hardest motivations to overcome.
Anger is cruel and fury overwhelming, but who can stand before jealousy?Proverbs 27:4
When someone is jealous of you for any reason, if you are humble and kind, they are more oppressive and arrogant toward you, and about you. If you try to push back, to make a stand against them, they fall back into victim mode and make you look worse still. Has that happened to you? It’s definitely happened to me.
Of the seven things God hates, lying gets a lot of attention.
There are six things the Lord hates, no, seven things he detests: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that kill the innocent, a heart that plots evil, feet that race to do wrong, a false witness who pours out lies, a person who sows discord in a family.Proverbs 6:16-19
But that’s not your problem. Your problem is what are you going to do about it? I only half quoted 1 Peter: 3:9
Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will grant you his blessing.1 Peter 3:9
A blessing? Really? Yes. We’ll talk about that in Part 2 next week.
When we handle these things God’s way, sooner or later, the truth comes out. It might be years, but you only have to be concerned with your own behavior when you stand before God’s judgement seat, not theirs.
I’ve heard it said that you can have justice, or you can have mercy, but you cannot have both.
Because Jesus said, how you judge others, so will you be judged. You can ask God to wreak vengeance on those who hurt you, and he might just do that for you, but then he will respond to your sin the same way. Or you can ask God to have mercy on those who have sinned against you, and God will then have mercy on you, when you have sinned against Him. The choice is yours.
God always knows the truth. You have nothing to prove to anyone, but God, that you are a person of integrity, no matter what others may say about you.
But even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it. So don’t worry or be afraid of their threats.1 Peter 3:14
The King James Version says it best in 1 Peter 2:15
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
If you did anything wrong to contribute to the problem, if God has convicted you of an offense against that person, or persons, repent, admit it, and fix it. If you know for certain you did nothing wrong, hold your head up and walk with humility and grace. Do not allow yourself to sink to the level of those who hurt you.
In Daniel chapter 6, we read that the satraps (The other counselors to the King) could find no fault with Daniel, “because he was trustworthy and neither corrupt nor negligent.”
Here’s the most comforting thing I can tell you in response to those who have lied about you. It comes from the Passion Translation in 1 Peter 3: 16-17
Maintain a clean conscience, so that those who slander you for living a pure life in Christ will have to lie about you, and will be ashamed because of their slander. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if it is in God’s plan, than for doing evil.1 Peter 3: 16-17
In other words, be a Daniel. “Be trustworthy, neither corrupt nor negligent.” Try to live a life of such integrity that those who want to slander you will have to lie to do it!
That whole concept is so clever, it actually makes me laugh! I know letting go of a deep betrayal like this is hard. Really hard. I want to write more about that, and I will in Part 2 of this message.
Let me give you a little time to let this much sink in for now. If they lied about you, it might be because they couldn’t find anything else bad to say about you. I don’t know about you, but that sure makes me feel better.