Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who gets understanding, for the gain from her is better than gain from silver and her profit better than gold.Proverbs 3:13-14 ESV
Have you ever been the recipient of a false accusation?
Has someone ever laid at your feet the responsibility of something that, in all likelihood, rested at their own feet?
I know I have! And guess what…it SUCKED!!
LET THE ACCUSATIONS FLY
Recently I had the pleasure of receiving a number of false accusations from some of the leadership at one local church I had served on staff at for a number of years.
Those accusations included (but were certainly not limited to):
- Running off “tithing members” of the church
- Slandering the church and pastor
- Insubordination of the pastor
Some folks at another church I served on staff at for a couple years accused me of the following:
- Hating old people
- Trying to kill the church
- Trying to divide the church
Still…a pastor and some members of another church I served on staff at for less than a year accused me of the following:
- Not having people skills
- Stealing from the Church
- Leading the youth into rebellion (specifically because I wore flip flops on a Sunday morning…I kid you not!)
As you can see, I’ve had my fair share of unfair and absurd accusations thrown at me by the hands of pastors and churches alike.
And you know what? They all hurt!
While I understand and fully expect that these kinds of things are going to happen when you’re in the ministry, and can even do everything I can think of to prepare for such things to be said, it doesn’t make it any easier to receive.
It’s especially hard when it comes from someone you respect and look up to.
THE HARD TRUTH
I could go through a plethora of examples, and I’m sure every single pastor who has ever served in any church for any length of time could probably give you a similar list of crazy accusations….but the point of this article isn’t to relive those moments…but simply to give you some context to what I’m about to say next.
And that is this…
While false accusations hurt, and much of what the accusers say is likely entirely untrue…there is still some value in what they said that we need to be humble enough to look for and work through.
Don’t misunderstand me…this is NOT easy!
It has taken me several months (and years in some cases) to get to a place where I could relive those words and moments and try to pick through and find the little nuggets of truth that I needed to hear and apply to myself. I still have a lot more to work through. It’s a process.
For example, I have since realized that I have been a rather harsh individual in my years of ministry. Some of it comes from watching my father in ministry, some of it comes from being in the ministry myself and catching a ton of unnecessary grief, but all of it is the exact opposite of what a believer ought to behave like.
I won’t lie, I had a short fuse. And many well-meaning people received some backlash if they caught me at the wrong time. Even for the ones who most likely deserved it I was still out of line and behaved incorrectly.
I need to let God flush this out of me. And thank the Lord, He is! I also need to make amends with those I have probably hurt over the years.
A WORD OF CAUTION
Do NOT, I repeat…DO NOT receive the accusations from another as though it were the gospel truth about yourself. Some of what they say may indeed be true, but you need to pass their words through the discernment of the Holy Spirit and the filter of the Bible to determine if what is said is indeed true…or even part of it. Don’t just assume it is. You may even need to speak with those who you trust will speak the truth lovingly to you.
Most importantly, however, earnestly seek God to open your eyes to what truth may lie buried there, and then discard the rest as utter foolishness.