Today’s AMI QT Devotional, first posted on March 7, 2016, is provided by Kate Moon who continues to serve as a missionary in E. Asia.
Devotional Thought for this Morning
“How to Respond When Unjustly Accused”
“1 Then the high priest asked him, ‘Are these charges true?’ 2 To this he [Stephen] replied: ‘Brothers and fathers, listen to me! The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham while he was still in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran . . .’ ”
“Don’t you even have any eyes?” It was an immature response from an immature person (I was maybe around nine or ten), but it came from a very real sense of frustration at a perceived injustice. An adult had “accused” me of not closing the screen door properly when I came into the house, but I obviously had – if the person had any eyes, she could see for herself that it was closed. I knew I was being a little out of line, but I thought that maybe when she saw that she was the one in the wrong, she’d see my frustration was justified and let it pass, maybe even laugh. Unfortunately, some nuance was lost in translation in the bilingual household I was growing up in (apparently the adult heard the word for “eyes” as something more like “brains,” and apparently, in her culture, calling into question an adult’s possession of brains was a particularly disrespectful expression), and I got into huge trouble. It wasn’t about the door anymore but what I’d said to an adult, at which I felt even more frustrated, because I hadn’t said “brains,” I’d said “eyes.” It just ended up being a terrible, mixed-up, no-good day.
Being accused of anything is never a good feeling; being falsely accused is all the worse. The immediate instinct is to rise up in indignation at the injustice, defend oneself, attack right back. Stephen, however, did none of these things. When he was being falsely accused of blasphemy and the high priest asks him if this is true, Stephen, “a man full of God’s grace” (v. 8) and wisdom (vv. 3, 10), begins talking about Abraham and Mesopotamia and ends up making an eloquent defense – not of himself, but of Jesus Christ.
How do we respond when we feel unjustly accused? When a supervisor asks us where a report is that we actually handed in a week ago but he misplaced? Can we resist becoming defensive of ourselves and have a more Christ-centered attitude when we face such situations?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, when I face false accusations or misunderstandings, help me to maintain my witness for you be my primary concern, over and above defending myself or proving others wrong. For your name’s sake, Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Acts 2
Lunch Break Study
Though we’ve already meditated today about having a godly response when being falsely accused, what about when the charge someone brings against us is true?
Read Proverbs 9:8: “Do not rebuke a mocker or he will hate you; rebuke a wise man and he will love you.”
Questions to Consider
1. Why do you think a mocker would respond to rebuke in this way?
2. What about the wise person? Why would he or she respond in the opposite way?
3. How do we respond to rebuke or correction? Defensively or graciously?
1. Those who mock others often put others down to feel better about themselves. A word of rebuke threatens their sense of self-worth, and they cannot truly receive it. The one who tries to rebuke someone who is not ready to receive it may just end up losing the relationship.
2. Wise people can separate their self-worth from their mistakes or character flaws. Because they do not feel their value as a person is threatened when a corrective word is given, they can receive it constructively and love the one who loves them enough to rebuke.
Were you able to respond graciously to others’ estimations of you today? If you faced any false accusations, bring the hurt, frustration and anger to Jesus, the bearer of the ultimate false accusation (=the sins of the world). He understands.