Previously Published on 1/7/2013
Has someone ever told a lie about you? Have you ever lost a friendship due to gossip and untruths? If you’ve lived any length of time, you can probably answer yes to these questions. It’s painful, isn’t it?
I have encountered this circumstance a few times in my life. Just this last week, I was accused of something I didn’t do. In fact, I had consciously taken great pains to avoid exactly what it was said I did. In a very human reaction, I got very angry. My blood pressure went up and my face flushed. As I re-read the accusation (thankfully, it was an email and not a live conversation), so many defenses presented themselves to me. I could tell the person it wasn’t their business. Or, I could tell them the truth, or at least “my side”, of the situation and hope to be heard. I even considered some very sharp things I could say to “put them in their place”.
But, of all of those things, none of them are wise.
So, before I took action or crafted a fiery response, I opened my Bible. This is something I have had to learn to do. God’s word is full of wisdom and teaches us how to be merciful and full of grace. My flesh wanted to right the wrong, correct the perception, and hurt the people who had lied about me. But, more than two decades of learning to love like Jesus had taught me to take a breath, seek wisdom, and lay my burdens down.
If you’re looking for wise advice, there’s no better place than Proverbs. King Solomon was the wisest man who ever lived, and he wrote down many of the lessons he learned. There are principles to be found that can be applied to any situation.
I found my answer in Proverbs 9.
“If you reason with an arrogant cynic, you’ll get slapped in the face; confront bad behavior and get a kick in the shins. So don’t waste your time on a scoffer; all you’ll get for your pains is abuse. But, if you correct those who care about life, that’s different – they’ll love you for it! Save your breath for the wise – they’ll be wiser for it; tell good people what you know – they’ll profit from it. Skilled living gets its start in the Fear-of-God, insight into life from knowing a Holy God. It’s through me, Lady Wisdom, that your life deepens, and the years of your life ripen. Live wisely and wisdom will permeate your life; mock life and life will mock you.” – Proverbs 9:7-12 (The Message).
It’s not easy, but it is wise. And, so, I’m taking a step back, taking a breath, and laying down my burdens. I can’t argue with someone who has already made up their mind or believes I’m a liar. The truth always comes to the surface, even if it seems to take forever. I must rest in that. I have reviewed my behavior to make sure my conscious is clear. So, I think I’ll just keep my thoughts and defenses to myself and avoid that kick in the shins.