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How do you respond to false accusations?

When people wrong us, by saying things that are untruthful, or even slanderous, our first reaction is to be angry because we are hurt then to respond in kind to our accusers. The problem is that this just leads to a slanging match, particularly when people engage in this on social media and are more prepared simply to vent their views than hear another’s.

The official legal advice is to stay calm and produce evidence of your side of the story, but when it all happens on social media and not in person that is easier said than done.

For years the Royal Family took the stance of never responding, never replying and just getting on with the job, although in recent times even the Queen has rebuffed some accusations.

The Bible talks about ‘Rejoice when you are slandered’ but how is this humanly possible when you know you have been falsely accused and are hurt? In Luke’s Gospel we read “Do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you’. Certainly not immediate human reactions!

Jesus faced such impossibilities head-on in his ministry. His response was never anger against his accusers for himself. He did respond to false accusations by asking questions; by sharing parables, by referring to the scriptures; We too should seek to engage with people face to face in an honest way. But he also responded by withdrawing from the accusers; and by keeping silent. Perhaps these last two actions are the best way when the person is anonymous on social media.

Ultimately the way to deal with these situations is to pray about them, and leave it to God, because our own attempts at clearing ourselves are usually failures.

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