Have you ever had someone say something about you that wasn't true? How did you react and what process did you use to "right the wrong"? Did you become complacent? Did you retaliate with equal venom? What systems internally do you use when things are out of synchronization? What happens if someone is half right and maybe there is something inside you that is true, but you have been entangled?
In every person's life, there are times when others will for whatever reason, not believe you, challenge you, come against you, become negative, try to assassinate your character or even destroy you out of anger. When these times happen, people can be wrongfully accused, judged and even falsely represented to the greater world. It may be warranted and it may not be. What we have to ask ourselves is this, how is our conduct, our character, our conviction driving our own lifestyle.
I will never forget when a high school friend of mine whom I love dearly was indicted by a federal court system with over 75 counts of fraud, perjury, racketeering and his father, a former County Commissioner was equally charged. On the front cover of the Daily Oklahoman a picture of both of them being being taken off to jail spelled one thing, GUILTY. What happened could not have been farther from the truth.
When I went to the trial, the judge said, "There is no evidence to prove any of these things are right, these are wrongs which have been miscommunicated on every front". They were found not guilty. The father died during this season and the son spent the rest of his life with a wrongful stain on him. Why? Because someone chose to do something wrong that was never right.
Jim Craddock was a hero of mine. His non profit ministry SCOPE was wrongfully taken from his as a founder and this was "his ministry" but a board of directors decided they wanted him out. James Dobson was wrongfully terminated from FOCUS ON THE FAMILY and when I was with him on his program FAMILY TALK, I talked with him off the record hearing his story. It made me sad when I found out the "whole story".
Jesus was wrongfully accused and killed for his devotion to the Father. So if you get accused, wrongfully judged and more, just know you are probably in "good company". Why is it that we somehow think life has to be perfect and this huge standard put before us to create guilt and shame is the only way to restitution? It's not. We are saved by grace and through the gift of eternal life in Him alone. Sounding so easy, we have such a hard time accepting it sometime.
So are we people who listen to half truths and has our world become so corrupt that we can't see the forest for the trees? Many great men and women have had things in their lives stripped from them and if it were possible, I would pray a different outcome for them, but whatever their lot, they have been taught to say, "It is well, with my soul" .
Naturally when someone comes against us, we react and ma get defensive. It's a nature in us to protect our own name, to rise above the wrongful fray and transfer negative feelings to the offender. This may be the case for you if you have people who betray you, and it may be the opposite. Some of you may get accused falsely, wrongfully judged and have to wear a stain on your life that is not warranted.
We have all heard the scripture, "Revenge is mine saith the Lord" and we are told as children to not make our revenge our highest priority. Yet, in movies and film revenge is one of the primary motives for watching a great movie. Filmmakers for decades have used this ethos of revenge to be part of making films which people love to see, the story of the underdog overcoming odds and getting even. Besides, its the frontier so Westerns love this theme.
I will use my favorite Western, TOMBSTONE as one of my all time favorite films as an example. Mr. Charlton Heston played a small role in the film and is one of the great actors of all time. When I think of great actors who have gone before us like Mr. Heston, you can't go far to think even about TEN COMMANDMENTS and the Biblical motive of the Pharaoh who wanted revenge and eventually lost the battles due to pride and evil in his own life.
During life's hardest storms we have to be willing to see the pride in our own life and resist the temptation of allowing revenge to over take us. We have to learn to let go and let God. Yes, there are times when we take a stand when corruption comes in, when a wrongful accusation robs, steals and destroys. Learning the balance of all these areas is key to a balanced life.
So what about the times when you are falsely accused, wrongfully judged and the stain on your reputation is just not right. When you can, I do believe it is always worth setting the record straight but only when appropriate. God takes care of the little things, He will take care of your reputation. Live your life and hold your head up high, don't go into grocery stores worried about what others think or if you will run into someone different than you. Love them, love your enemies and realize God has a great plan for your life.
Remember that revenge is a dying theme. Getting even is not your job. God has you in the palm of His hands and so when we let go and let God, we find peace. Remember as pastor Craig shares each week, whoever finds God, finds life.
Kevin McAfee is a filmmaker who writes for the purpose of inspiring others to make a difference in the world through faith in God and using the visual language of film. His blog shares the hopes of impacting culture, because his heart is in media missions and the church.