When my kids were small I began reading, The Power of A Praying Parent by Stormie Omartian. I was particularly interested in the chapter on lying. I wanted to know how to handle lying with a godly approach. I found what was needed to help my son understand why God hates lying. Stormie says, “Every time you lie you give Satan a piece of your heart.” Ouch! Those twelve words was all it took for my son to grasp the magnitude of lying and the unattractive consequences. Even I had never thought of lying in that way.
In Psalm 120, the writer is the recipient of lies and untruth. “In my distress I cry to the LORD, that he may answer me: ‘Deliver me, O LORD, from lying lips, from a deceitful tongue…A warrior’s sharp arrows, with glowing coals of the broom tree!” (verses 2-4). Lying lips and a deceitful tongue is compared to sharp arrows. A deceitful tongue, like arrows, cuts deeply leaving behind a lingering sting. Now, consider the second part of verse 4: “with glowing coals of the broom tree!” The broom tree is a large desert shrub that adapts to dry conditions. Like hot coals glowing from a long burning campfire, the broom tree holds its heat. If you accidently get burned by an ember there’s instant pain, leaving behind a sting. It is the same with slanderous words.
While living in 1940’s transient military housing that was considered sub-standard living quarters, gossip and lies spread like an uncontrolled wildfire. Perhaps the shoddy and inadequate temporary accommodations stirred up inferior feelings that provoked residents into this unattractive behavior. Often this is the underlying reason for unjust criticism; there may be some sort of pain or suffering going on within the offender. In this case, you can’t go wrong with praying for this person.
So, what is the Christian service member or military family to do when a victim of slanderous talk or unjust criticism? Even though you may want to seek retaliation, resist that urge. It’s unbecoming of a military member or his/her family. And revenge isn’t God’s method for us anyway. The psalmist in verse 7 of Psalm 120 steers us in the direction to seek peace. He says, “I am for peace; but when I speak, they are for war.” More often than not, our egos get in the way and giving the situation more attention just sparks more controversy and incites a verbal war.
Instead, be smart by first taking your complaint to God in prayer. If you’re serious about hearing from God, pray earnestly and consistently for Him to bring justice and rebuild your reputation and integrity. Just be on the watch for His hand to direct. Because God hates sin not all of His justice will be postponed into the future. He also rescues and vindicates His children in this life as well. So trust Him to reestablish you.
I also like what First Peter 2:23 has to say. “When he [Jesus] was abused, he did not return abuse; when he suffered, he did not threaten; but he entrusted himself to the one who judges justly.”
As a Christ-follower, we gain comfort and strength from the knowledge that God is on our side because God is Truth. If we have done nothing wrong, then truth is on our side. If we are wrongly criticized or lied about, one aspect of God’s nature is to uphold you. Joshua 23:10 says: “It is the LORD, your God who fights for you” and Psalm 124:2: “Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve me against the wrath of my enemies; you stretched out your hand, and your right hand delivers me” (NRSV). God will deliver you from those that seek to bring you down with lies and deceit. All truths come to the surface eventually, but meanwhile trust in God’s promises. God will deal justly with the one who has lied, deceived, or criticized you with an untrue assessment. The best action one can take in times when we’ve had more than enough disrespect is to settle our eyes upon Jesus and seek His guidance. He will make straight what is crooked either now or later. Pray and trust Him. This isn’t idle behavior, but exercising discipline and faithfulness to the One who will uphold you and truth.
To order a copy of my book, Faith Steps For Military Families, click here. Do you have a thought on this topic? Comment below. You can also follow me at http://www.Facebook.com/FaithStepsForMilitaryFamilies and on Twitter @lisanixonphilli