Locations of visitors to this page
Responding Wisely When Falsely Accused
Scripture: James 3:5-10; Exodus 20:16; Matthew 5:11...
Track 6 of 11 in the Job: Endure to the End series
False witness is a very difficult thing to combat. Once the lie is out there, how does one defend himself and how does one repair their reputation. Being falsely accused really hurts and when the accusation goes public, the person who is the target can feel as though they are utterly helpless. How an innocent person responds has a lot to do with exposing the lie for what it really is. A wise response is a Christians weapon against false accusations.

Click above to listen in this window.
Right-click to download MP3. With one-button mouse, control-click.

Be sure to scroll down to read the transcript.

Mike Nobis Speaker: Mike Nobis
Sunday School Teacher, Former Elder at Madison Park Christian Church. Mike is President of JK Creative Printers & Mailing in Quincy, IL. He is married to Pam and has three children, Tom, Tyler and Jennifer. Mike has three grandchildren: Ryne, Ivy and Alicia.

View all sermons by this speaker.

Responding Wisely When Falsely Accused

The most dangerous enemy in the church today is the tongue. The human tongue has done more damage and caused more heartaches than any other source of trouble. What we say cuts far deeper than any knife or sword. In fact, there are several references in the Bible that presents the tongue as a sword that thrusts its way into others’ lives causing deep, lingering hurt.

James 3:5-10 Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been tamed by man, but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be.

It should not surprise us that one of the commandments listed by God has to do with telling the truth about other people.

Exodus 20:16 You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.

Solomon wrote in Proverbs a list of seven things that God hates. Among them, “A false witness who utter lies”. Nevertheless, liars are still on the loose. Lying today seems to become a new sport. It is not that a person lied that counts, it is how well they lie and how many foolish people they can con into believing what they say.

Someone tell me the definition of the term, “SPIN”. Is it lying? What is the purpose and what does it seek to do? Who is the originator of the method of “SPIN”? Can you give me some examples where spin was used in the Bible? What about the church? Do we engage in spin? Can our actions or lack of action rise to the level of bearing a false witness? Give me an example.

False witness is a very difficult thing to combat. Once the lie is out there, how does one defend himself and how does one repair their reputation. Being falsely accused really hurts and when the accusation goes public, the person who is the target can feel as though they are utterly helpless. How an innocent person responds has a lot to do with exposing the lie for what it really is. A wise response is a Christian’s weapon against false accusations.

It is amazing the number of characters in the Bible who had false accusations leveled against them. It is important to note that God can use false accusations as a good thing when correctly responded to. There is one very important element that is absolutely required to defeat false accusations. We must be above reproach. We must be real and live genuine lives. False accusations don’t stick when we live genuine Godly lives.

Joseph – Raping Potiphar’s wife. He wound up in jail.
Moses – Bring the people of Israel into the wilderness to watch them die.
David – Accused of trying to dethrone King Saul by the jealous King Saul himself.
Nehemiah – Accused of rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem so he could make himself the new King.
Peter and John – Accused of preaching a false Christ. They were beaten for it.
Paul – Accused of being a phony convert right after his conversion. Accused of causing dissension among the Jews. Accused by Festus of being insane because of his great learning.
Jesus – There were many accusation said about Jesus. It is not surprising that Jesus opened up his great Sermon on the Mount with these words:

Matthew 5:11-13 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. “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.

I think sometimes people get verse 13 wrong in its meaning. Many will say that Christians bring flavor to the world. What does verse 13 mean in relationship with verses 11-12? I think Jesus is saying, salt is only good when it remains salty. Christians only have impact in the world when they remain genuine. When we lose our witness (reputation), it is almost impossible to get it back.

What is the promise found in Matthew 5? What is Jesus telling us about our reputations?

The three friends of Job believe he did something wrong, sinned in some way to deserve the life he presently is experiencing. Each friend takes his turn speaking with Job trying to convince him to reexamine his actions and to confess his sin(s). For several chapters the conversation goes on with the friends accusing Job and Job giving his response on his defense. Job’s response is always, I haven’t done anything wrong.

Have you ever met a person when you disagreed with their opinion or thinking? What about a person who is quick to set you straight and gain control over your opinion? What is their response like when you continually disagree with their position?

Zophar is one of those persons. He is the kind who gets insulted when someone disagrees with his point of view. He is the kind who gets disquieted, agitated, and insulted because someone doesn’t agree with him. When dealing with Job, he refuses to listen to Job’s ideas on his situation. Zophar only wanted to talk, he didn’t want to fully understand what Job was going through, he wanted to instruct, preferably lecture. Most of all, he didn’t want to be disagreed with.

Zophar had three messages to say to Job and Zophar said them to Job in an exaggerated manner:

1) The wicked do not live long

Job 20:4-5 “Surely you know how it has been from of old, ever since man£ was placed on the earth, that the mirth of the wicked is brief, the joy of the godless lasts but a moment.

2) The pleasures of the wicked are temporary

Job 20:12-19 “Though evil is sweet in his mouth and he hides it under his tongue, though he cannot bear to let it go and keeps it in his mouth, yet his food will turn sour in his stomach; it will become the venom of serpents within him. He will spit out the riches he swallowed; God will make his stomach vomit them up. He will suck the poison of serpents; the fangs of an adder will kill him. He will not enjoy the streams, the rivers flowing with honey and cream. What he toiled for he must give back uneaten; he will not enjoy the profit from his trading. For he has oppressed the poor and left them destitute; he has seized houses he did not build.

3) God’s judgment falls on the wicked

Job 20:25b-29 Terrors will come over him; total darkness lies in wait for his treasures. A fire unfanned will consume him and devour what is left in his tent. The heavens will expose his guilt; the earth will rise up against him. A flood will carry off his house, rushing waters£ on the day of God’s wrath. Such is the fate God allots the wicked, the heritage appointed for them by God.”

Looking at the content of what Zophar said, when dealing with the wicked, is Zophar correct as to what God will do to them? What makes Zophar’s use of scripture incorrect?

Have you had someone tell you the same things in some manner and when they are done and when they leave, the only thing you can say to them and to yourself, goodbye, good riddance and please don’t come back anytime soon. What is interesting about Zophar, this is the last time we see or hear from him in this book. Unfortunately there are those we come in contact with who are so harmful, the best thing they can do is ride off into the sunset and never return. What is sad, this kind of stuff still goes on within the church. A local body of believers hates to lose members but there are some who just need to move on never to return.

Let’s fast forward a minute and talk about the church today. Some of us in the church are sharp tongued. We can say things that cut, but some are so good at it that they couch their words in phrases that sound pious and even eloquent. But deep down they are designed to be hurtful and damaging. They imply mush more than is actually said. Here is where we need to apply some self control.

• We need to think before we speak and then, after giving our words some careful thought
• We need to measure our tone
• We need to measure their possible impact
• We need to measure the truthfulness of what we plan to say

Zophar did none of these. All Zophar did was a lot of lip flapping.

True or false: When falsely accused, you just sit there quietly and say nothing. God will defend you.

Wise council: If your reputation is being ruined by lies, if your company is going down the tubes because of false accusations, if your church is being destroyed and demoralized because of wrong information from lying lips, there are times when it is necessary to step up and set the record straight. Truth has a way of silencing lies.

A lot of times what sounds Godly really isn’t. For example, someone show me where it states, “God helps those who help themselves”? This is not found in scripture. It was made to sound like it so others can use it to further their agenda. Nowhere in the Bible does it say that. That is exactly where Job goes when dealing with Zophar’s lecture. Listen to how Job gets started:

Job 21:1-3 Then Job replied: “Listen carefully to my words; let this be the consolation you give me. Bear with me while I speak, and after I have spoken, mock on.

What did Job tell Zophar with this statement? Listen to me. Bear with me. People like Zophar are not good listeners and they are not patient especially when they don’t want to glean truthful information. There are people who don’t want the truth and they really can’t handle the truth.

The statement that is really awesome is the one that comes in verse 5:

Job 21:5 Look at me and be astonished; clap your hand over your mouth.
To really understand and hear what someone is saying, what two things are really necessary?

I don’t have time to completely go over Job’s response but it is really awesome. I highly encourage you to read it on your own. Job responds with truth and challenges Zophar’s thinking with real answers from God. If makes his defense in the form of questions? He basically puts Zophar’s statement to the test and turns the heat onto him. His questioning addresses three points:

1) Who says the wicked always die young? (Job 21:7-16) If the wicked always die young, why do so many continue on, becoming more powerful? I’m not wicked, I’m sick. I don’t know why I’m sick, but I am.

2) Where’s the proof that the godless always suffer calamity? (Job 21:23-26) Job gives several examples of the wicked living good lives even though a life of evil really doesn’t last long.

Eccles. 8:11-12 When the sentence for a crime is not quickly carried out, the hearts of the people are filled with schemes to do wrong. Although a wicked man commits a hundred crimes and still lives a long time, I know that it will go better with God-fearing men, who are reverent before God.

3) How can you say that death always falls hard on the wicked (Job 21:23-26) I like how Job ends his defense. He tells his friend Zophar:

Job 21:34 “So how can you console me with your nonsense? Nothing is left of your answers but falsehood!”

I cannot help but wonder if this strong rebuke explains Zophar’s sudden exit from any further dialog in the Book of Job.

Four responses to false accusations

1) Stay Calm. Listen to what is being said and consider the character of the critic. The temptation is to jump in and rashly react. To listen and to consider is important for the next step.

2) Speak Truth: Respond with true facts and accurate information knowing the nature of the accuser. Stay with the truth. Don’t exaggerate, don’t deny and don’t hesitate. Always respond with the truth. God honors integrity.

3) Lean Hard: Use examples that represent reality and let the defense of your character remain in God’s hands. You concentrate on speaking the truth, lean on God to protect your reputation.

4) Get Tough: Refuse to let accusations discourage you and derail you. Remember that the accusations are lies and nonsense. What does this statement mean, “Trust God but keep your powder dry”? Going through hard times requires a get-tough mind set. Go there. That may seem harsh, but it is realistic. Realism is a powerful message.