No one can hurt you if you are determined to do what is right;
and blessed are you if you have to suffer for being upright.
Have no dread of them; have no fear.
Simply proclaim the Lord Christ holy in your hearts,
and always have your answer ready for people who ask you the reason for the hope that you have.
– 1 Peter 3: 13-15
It is difficult to understand how actions and words from a clear conscience and caring heart can be so twisted and misconstrued such that a person can become unrecognizable. It is even more difficult to understand how and why some people would go through such elaborate effort and time to construct a rationalization that would judge and condemn another person just so that they can feel better about themselves and their situation. The sad irony is that they do not realize such actions will only plunge them deeper into self-denial and an escape from reality. The human capacity for self-deception, even group self-deception, is indeed startling.
I have recently been accused, tried, and condemned (in their own minds) for some very serious charges (I was informed when my accuser decided to tell me the verdict of a trial I hadn’t even realized I have been subjected to). It would be wholly laughable if not for the fact that it is also very sad that such a situation can come to be. My accusers seem to believe that they know me better than everyone else in my life, when the very fact that they can believe what they accuse me of is evidence that they do not know me at all. They weren’t objective or complete in their interpretation of facts either… it was a classic example of using skewed data to prove a predetermined hypothesis.
I don’t know which is more sad. That they would choose to believe the worst of me in ways that would bring misery only to themselves, that they are so blindly self-righteous over a reality that is based only on their own rationalizations, or that after all these months, all they have come up with is this sad little thesis that lays all the blame of all their troubles at my feet.
And yet, in spite of being accused of some outrageous charges (including emotional adultery, breaking up a family, the seduction of an innocent and being a lesbian), I am grateful. For throughout all this time, I have been blessing and praying for the very people who have condemned me. Even now, I still bless them, and I still wish them every happiness and peace even as I ask for God’s grace so that I can wholeheartedly forgive them for wronging me. God put them in my life for a wonderful pedagogical purpose, and in the last year I have been faithful to my lessons. I’ve confronted myself, acknowledged my flaws, listened to the hidden inner voice of love within me, and begun to rediscover and live my identity as God’s beloved.
Every experience, whatever its nature, can be used to illuminate our journeys and to help us become better persons. I have always believed that, and I have lived that conviction for the past 10 months. Of course it is up to us to make that happen. And I do believe I have.
Dearest Jesus, when You were falsely accused, You did not attempt to defend yourself or convince your accusers of their wrong. Instead, You forgave them and asked your heavenly Father to forgive them as well, for they knew not what they were doing.
Bring me into Your love so that I too may bless and forgive my accusers. Help me to surrender my desire and need to ‘be right’. Help me to open up the wounds these accusations have inflicted on me to Your loving and healing hand.
You alone, Lord, are my judge! Before Your eyes I have always laid bare my intentions and desires. In You alone do I seek vindication!
Thank you, Jesus, for this beautiful new cross that you have given me as a sign of your great love for me. I embrace it whole-heartedly! May it bring me ever closer to You! I love You!