Something I have often quoted to those I am attempting to help through their struggles with others is, “People will often accuse you of what they are doing.” Said another way, others will often place their issues on you, assuming your actions or thoughts based on how they act or think. If someone is a pathological liar… they will deal with others based on the premise that the other is lying to them, and so on.
We see this is the story of David and Goliath from the Bible. David travels to the battleground to bring some food to his brothers. Goliath comes out boasting against the children of Israel and God Himself, and the Israeli armies simply stand and watch (and even run away). David questions why no one stands up to this giant blowhard, and David’s brother, Eliab, accuses David of having pride in his heart (1 Samuel 17:28). David wanted to handle an issue that was before him that no one else was taking care of and was accused of pride (by the ones who were ignoring the battle before them). Earlier, Eliab was among the brothers who were passed over in order that David might be anointed king because the Lord had “rejected” them (1 Samuel 16:7). In the New Testament, James writes that God opposes (rejects) the proud (James 4:6). What Eliab dealt with was what he accused David of.
There might have been times you have been on the wrong end of an accusation. Those with hidden agendas accuse you of having an agenda. Those who are dishonest refuse to believe an accurate report you might share. Those with malicious intent will see every action as malicious, and the disloyal will question every action of loyalty you might display. These types of people are perpetual pessimists and accusatory. A backstabber is always assuming everyone else has a knife in their hand.
This idea of a lack of self-awareness even finds its way into the “solutions” to perceived problems in today’s world. Accusations of intolerance are met with intolerant screams. Finger-pointing towards perceived prejudice will justify the accused being “canceled” by prejudiced actions. To right a wrong, any action is justified, even if it carries the same spirit of what they believe they are fighting against. The hypocrisy will, of course, be lost on them.
Here are a few things to consider if you have been unfairly accused:
- Those people are not your God.
While we do have to care about others, we are not defined by, nor ultimately judged by, flawed men and women around us. We will answer to God. (A reminder… He looks even deeper than humans do at your heart)
2. You can do what is right, regardless.
My dad told me one time, “People are going to hit you. Don’t give them the stick to hit you with.” While you cannot keep the hurting from trying to hurt you (more on this next), you can do what you know is best with the best intentions, and if nothing else you can lay your head on your pillow in peace.
3. Hurting people hurt people.
Those who are hurting lash out based on that hurt and bring pain onto others. Their perception and pain do not change the reality around them, but it does explain the reasons they act the way they do.
4. Look for ways to heal the hurt.
One of the calls on our life (I believe) is not to be right, but to get it right. There is always a story behind the moment, meaning there is a reason a person is a way they are. It doesn’t give anyone an excuse, but it does provide a reason. How someone treats you will help give clues as to how they are feeling, and if we can keep from being offended long enough to discern the moment then we can be agents of healing for others.
Keep an open heart and mind. Refuse to engage hypocrisy on its terms. Remember that any action based on an extreme position is probably not the correct one. Watch your heart so that you don’t project your flaws or hurts on another.
I’m reminded of a quote, or version of a quote, attributed to a number of individuals. “Never wrestle with pigs. You both get dirty and the pig likes it.”