Telling lies in order to accuse a person falsely is a heinous crime. Damaging the reputation of someone is an act of robbery of far more significance than stealing some of their goods – you are stealing their good name. Goods can be replaced, but when ‘mud’ has been thrown at someone by telling lies about them for some ulterior motive, the sad fact is that some of that ‘mud’ will stick in the minds of those who hear. They will think that there must be at last a grain of truth in what is being said, even if there isn’t!
Jesus suffered greatly from such false accusations. The words of the Pharisees, who concocted false stories about Him, would eventually be used to drive the nails through his hands and his feet when He was crucified. Yes, ruining someone’s reputation by false accusation is a serious sin – it’s like an act of murder.
We need to be very careful, therefore, when talking about others disrespectfully – and we need to be especially careful about pointing the finger at others when we are also guilty of what we are pointing out in others. Jesus hated and condemned such hypocrisy.
When the Pharisees brought the woman who had been caught in an act of adultery (John 8:3-11) to Jesus, to see if He would be true to the law of Moses and say she should be stoned to death, Jesus challenged the hearts of her accusers. He said something like, “OK, but only throw a stone if you are without sin!” Jesus knew what was in their hearts and that they had deliberately brought this woman to Jesus in order to try and trap Him. Their motives were evil.
If you’ve been falsely accused in a public place, you will know the pain that lying words can cause. There is only one remedy for the pain within – forgiveness and God’s inner comfort. Yes, they may not deserve to be forgiven – but Jesus died for our sins and we don’t deserve to be forgiven either! To speak out forgiveness of those who have accused us falsely is like cutting the ropes that have tied those false accusations to our heart.
And if we’ve been guilty of hypocritically speaking negatively about other people – when the things we are saying could just as easily be said of us – then it’s time for personal repentance, asking God for forgiveness and a change of heart.
Prayer: I am sorry, Lord, for the times when I have said wrong things about other people, for whatever reason. Please forgive me. And help me, Lord, to speak out my forgiveness of those who have hurt me with their false words. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
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