When falsely accused, only you know the truth
Saturday, November 25, 2017
Do not spread false reports. — Exodus 23:1a (NIV)
You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor. — Exodus 20:16 (NIV)
“She welcomed multiple men into our bed. It was a regular weekly event, a group of friends sharing the same woman. One man chose not to participate but decided to steal from her instead. When she found out that one man in the group was regularly stealing from her, she was more than angry. So she took her revenge. She cried rape. She made her claims to the authorities. The men were arrested. Most served time in jail awaiting trial since their families did not have enough money to post bail. Reputations were destroyed. Families were embarrassed. Just prior to trial, she confessed: there was no rape. The accusations were false.”
My heart broke as I listened to my friend tell me this story from decades ago. You could feel the pain and confusion in his voice as we discussed the seemingly never ending sexual assault stories we read in the headlines today.
This injustice against his brother could never be made whole. The woman was never held accountable for the false accusations. Even though there was grievous injustice in this case, let’s be clear — sexual assault and rape are always wrong. Rape is violent, repugnant. It is a horrification of a precious gift from God — our sexuality. But if someone makes a false claim about having been a victim of such an act, that too causes great pain.
So to those who have been falsely accused, may they know that we have a God who knows the truth, who sympathizes with those facing injustice, and who has a plan for your pain. In fact, please remember, one of the heroes of the bible, Joseph, was also falsely accused of rape (Genesis 39).
When you find yourself falsely accused, you realize that only you know the truth. Your whole world is out of balance. It can feel as if everyone is against you. No one believes you. You know you are not perfect. You have made many unhealthy choices in your life, many against God’s pattern, but you would never ever commit rape. No way. So why do so many find it so easy to believe that you could commit such an evil? But take heart, you and God know the truth. Your Maker sees everything (Job 28:24) and knows the untruth you are facing.
Your God can sympathize with you (Hebrews 4:15). He knows the pain of rejection. He knows the pain of being abandoned. You have a God who understands your pain.
And believe it or not, God has a plan for your pain (Romans 8:28). He can, and will, take all the bad and allow you to one day prosper again. Remember Joseph. Read the rest of the story. God used him in great ways to do good for the whole nation of Israel long after he was falsely accused of rape. We have a God who can not only heal the pain, but also use the broken.
While you may not be guilty of rape, perhaps change is needed in other areas of your life. Each of us should live lives worthy of being called Christian (1 Thessalonians 2:12, Ephesian 4:1, Colossians 1:10), making sure we avoid all things that are wrong (1 Thessalonians 5:22). If we do wrong in one area, people are ready to believe we can do wrong in other areas. What areas of your life need to be changed?
The ancient words of Micah give clarity in the midst of your pain … act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly (Micah 6:8). Let the justice system work. Offer mercy even when those around you only offer cruelty. And continue to walk.
And for those of us with family or friends who have been accused of something as horrendous as rape, be careful. And when we have those in the public eye stand accused, again be slow (James 1:19). There is a time for everything (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8), but truth often takes time. You do not want to be on the wrong side of truth.