HOW TO DEAL WITH ACCUSERS
“But in order not to weary you further, I would request that you be kind enough to hear us briefly. 5 “We have found this man to be a troublemaker, stirring up riots among the Jews all over the world. He is a ringleader of the Nazarene sect 6 and even tried to desecrate the temple; so we seized him. 7-8 By examining him yourself, you will be able to learn the truth about all these charges we are bringing against him.” 9 The other Jews joined in the accusation, asserting that these things were true. 10 When the governor motioned for him to speak, Paul replied: “I know that for a number of years you have been a judge over this nation; so I gladly make my defense. 11 You can easily verify that no more than twelve days ago I went up to Jerusalem to worship. 12 My accusers did not find me arguing with anyone at the temple, or stirring up a crowd in the synagogues or anywhere else in the city. 13 And they cannot prove to you the charges they are now making against me. 14 However, I admit that I worship the God of our ancestors as a follower of the Way, which they call a sect. I believe everything that is in accordance with the Law and that is written in the Prophets, 15 and I have the same hope in God as these men themselves have, that there will be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked. 16 So I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man.” (Acts 24:4—16)
Paul was being accused and called names by the Jews who didn’t like his message of the resurrection. The Jews accused Paul of something that he didn’t do. They made up stories about something that Paul did not do. They called him a troublemaker who stirred up riots among Jews all over the world. An accusation often is exaggerated to cause much damage to the one accused. So many lives have been damaged because of the accusation level at them by people who disagree and create stories to bring others down.
The Jews who were accusing Paul really painted the picture of how terrible a troublemaker Paul was. First, they found Paul to be a troublemaker. Then they added that Paul was STIRRING up RIOTS among Jews ALL OVER THE WORLD. He is a RINGLEADER of the Nazarene sect. And the Jews ended their accusation by saying, he EVEN TRIED TO DESECRATE the temple, so we seized him. The spirit of an accuser is to do much damage to someone whom they disagree with or dislike. The same thing they accused Paul of doing, being a troublemaker, is the same thing they are to Paul. They are troublemakers themselves.
Paul was a wise man. He did not let them get away with an embellished story. A great lesson that I must learn. Paul recounted his side of the event. He said my accusers did not find me arguing with anyone at the temple or stirring up a crowd in the synagogues or anywhere else in the city. They cannot prove the charges they are now making against me. Paul stood his ground. He said that what he is saying is VERIFIABLE.
Paul recounted that the only other reason they were accusing him of was NOT what they were saying, but it was about an issue that happened earlier with them. The issue of the resurrection of Jesus offended them. So, these Jews were fishing for fraudulent and embellished stories and created a story that would bring Paul down. The Jews could not verify their own account of the events.
I learned today that it is important to stand up to bullies. Never let a bully get away with made-up stories that can cause damage to our lives. Nature of bullies always exaggerates stories and gathers a crowd to shame someone. We, as believers, must be wiser. When Jesus said one must turn the other cheek, he was not advocating for others to continue to lie and not confront them with the truth. There are times when we must turn the cheek. But also, there are times when we must learn to stand our ground on the truth and not allow accusers to continue their lies. Paul taught me to be wise and aware. Jesus said to his disciples, “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore, be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. 17 Be on your guard; you will be handed over to the local councils and be flogged in the synagogues. (Matthew 10:16—17).
Paul’s attitude was another great reminder for me to do as a believer. Paul said, I always strive to keep my conscience clear before God and man.” I want to do the same.
I want to apply wisdom in every situation that I face. I want to be wise like Paul, not starting problems, and clarify and be bold in confronting lies and embellishing stories when accused of something that I did not do. Paul has taught me to be wise as a snake and be innocent as a dove. I learned that Paul did not attack his accusers personally as they did to him, but he verified his version of the event. This a great lesson for me on how to handle accusers.
Father, I thank you for your spirit of truth. Help me to know how to speak with courage and love to those who accuse me or others. Help me to walk in the Spirit of truth. Help me to speak with truth and love and not accuse others or makeup stories that are based on lies and fabrications. Teach me to fear you and to be someone who stands for your truth. Help me never to accuse anyone of things they have not done. Guide and lead me in your truth. Amen!