Most of us have been taught to be responsible for our actions. All of us will make mistakes, and if we are confronted with our error, we usually admit that what we did was wrong. If we try to live our lives as Christians, we accept whatever rebuke is given, and determine that we will do better in the future.
However, what happens when we are unjustly accused of major wrong doing? What if a fellow worker resents us when we claim that we are Christians, and spreads lies about what we are doing? What do we do? How do we react to an attack on our integrity? Usually when such a thing happens, our response is, at the very least, a strong denial. Often, our reaction is accompanied by anger, and a desire to “get even”. Yes, slander is something that is hard to deal with as a Christian.
In Psalm 7, David also had to deal with slander. However, he was accused of being a traitor! We don’t know the circumstances behind the accusations, but apparently a Benjamite named Cush made them. Like us, David’s reaction was anger. But unlike the methods of the world, David turned to the Lord in prayer. “O Lord my God, I take refuge in you; save and deliver me from all who pursue me.” The Lord was constantly before the mind of David. Was he upset at what was said? Of course he was upset! But the difference is that he knew that the Lord would deliver him, and resolve the situation.
In verses three and four, David considered the charges. If he was guilty, if he had done what Gush had said he had done, then David’s prayer was that the Lord should punish him. When we think that we are being unjustly accused, we would do well to try to objectively consider what is leveled against us. There may be some truth to the charges. Maybe we do have a blind spot to certain things that we say or do. What we think is slander may very well be the truth.
If, like David, we consider the charges, and decide that they are false, we still have to decide what to do. The first thing we can do is to place our trust in the Lord. “My shield is God Most High, who saves the upright in heart.” Trust alone is hard at a time like this. We want to “do something”! However, the best way is to work always with the Lord before us. Sometimes, the Lord’s justice seems to be long in coming. David wrote, “Awake, my God; decree justice.” Of course, the Lord does not sleep, but sometimes we may echo David’s words in our hearts.
Verses 14 through 16 paint a vivid picture of what will eventually happen. Sooner or later, trouble will recoil upon the person that causes it. As a Christian, we know that with our God, justice will come for all. Many people guilty of such actions are unhappy. They may be dishonest, bitter, or envious. They may have a low sense of worth due to their own actions. But because of the unhappiness in their own lives, they strike out at people that seem to have a better life – especially if that better life involves Christian qualities.
The danger that be avoided is to fall into to trap of looking forward to the time when they get what they deserve. “I’m a Christian, and I’m not going to sink to that level, but they’ll get what they deserve…” What did Jesus say on the cross when He was being crucified based on false accusations? “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do…” Every soul is precious to God, and we must remember that.
We must also remember that there is a good chance that we will suffer slander as a Christian. Our Lord was falsely accused throughout His ministry. As we labor for the Lord, should we be shaken if we suffer the same thing? Jesus said, “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Mat. 5:11,12). Peter is even more specific in 1 Peter 2:19-21, “For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God. But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example that you should follow in his steps.”
Yes, like David, we will face Injustice, even persecution in our Christian lives. But we need to remember who we are, and to whom our loyalty and conduct belongs. Often the reactions of the world are not to be the reactions of God’s people. It is not easy to change and grow, but with the help of our Father, and the words of comfort and guidance in the Word of God, we can become more Christ-like.
– Jim Shelburn