Whether as a child, teenager or an adult - having something said about you that is entirely untrue is a situation many of us have faced in life. It can be hurtful, discouraging, frustrating and even cause others to judge you unjustly or even cause us to doubt ourselves. The power of a lie!
But the good news is, that which is greater than a lie is the truth, and it's important to focus on the truth of what God says instead. You may be thinking, 'but what if those lies are ruining my reputation, destroying my family or affecting my business? Do I say and do nothing?' You may be tempted to get angry, publically defend yourself or even confront your accuser(s), but if we know who the father of lies is, we know that his ultimate plan is to kill, steal and destroy. So, the first thing to note in such circumstances is that wisdom is still applicable. We should be mindful to remember that we wrestle not against flesh and blood, meaning the person(s) spewing false words against you is not your enemy; satan is.
Most of the time, you'll find people who speak lies against another, do so from a place of unhappiness, insecurity, jealousy, or hurt and are deeply in need of God's love - so, responding to false accusations with truth and grace is a great way to move forward.
Now, what does this look like practically?
Firstly, prayer. It's the best way to bring our heart towards God and presents us with an opportunity to place the situation into His caring hands. We see an excellent example of this from David in Psalm 109. In the first three verses, he tells God what his accusers are doing against him, but what we see in verse 4 is him deciding to make prayer his first point of action.
'In return for my love, they are my accusers,
But I give myself to prayer.
Secondly, even with the discouragement lies can bring, don't allow it to derail and distract you from what you ought to be doing. In scripture, Nehemiah was rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem and did not stray away from his calling when his enemies approached with lies. Instead, he asked God to strengthen him as he continued to do the work. So remaining focused is vital.
For they all were trying to make us afraid, saying, "Their hands will be weakened in the work, and it will not be done."
Now therefore, O God, strengthen my hands.
Lastly, choose to respond to false accusations by refraining from allowing unforgiveness and bitterness to take root. While the lie coming against you is not within your control, the response to it is. Thankfully, we can overcome and receive help to forgive by His grace, lest we remove ourselves from receiving forgiveness from God for ourselves.
And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses."
You may be going through such a situation right now, but trust that God is still in control and is able to vindicate, where vindication needs to take place. Above all, keep your eyes on Him and see this as an opportunity for your faith to be strengthened.
Words by Dara Olagbami