“Then the high priest stood up and said to Jesus, 'Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?' But Jesus remained silent." Matthew 26:62-63 (NIV)
I was shaking, holding the telephone away from my ear. My friend’s mom had been yelling at me for twenty minutes straight. “You’re a terrible friend! How can you call yourself a Christian?? If you really loved Jesus, you wouldn’t have treated my daughter this way!!” She was referring to an argument some of our friends and her daughter had, and they were no longer speaking. Everyone was sad, hurt, and angry. Well, everyone but me. You see, I wasn’t a part of the argument. I wasn’t even in the same state when it happened. My friend’s mom didn’t know that though. She assumed I was and never gave me the chance to tell her the truth.
As she shouted her false accusations at me through the phone, my dad came by. “Who is shouting at you?” he asked. Covering the mouthpiece, I told him the story and asked how he thought I should respond. “Say nothing,” he said. WHAT?? Say nothing! Did he hear these lies she was lobbing at me?! Did he know she was insulting me and hurting my feelings?
He did know … he could hear her! My dad said, “Show her you do love Jesus, and do as He would do: remain silent.” As hard as that was, I did keep quiet that day, and I have always been grateful I did, instead of fighting to redeem myself in her esteem. Author J.I. Packer writes, "Lord, give me the grace not to defend myself to others."
That is a hard discipline. However, like my dad said, we have the finest example in history to show us how to keep quiet when we’re called to. Isaiah 53:7 tells us that Jesus "was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth" (NIV).
Jesus knew all the plans of God the Father. He could have justified Himself right then and there. Jesus had the answers to every question they had. Yet He knew to fulfill God’s purposes, His lips had to remain shut. There was no need for Him to justify Himself; He knew God’s plans and that was enough for Him. Psalm 34:22 reminds us, "the Lord redeems his servants; no one will be condemned who takes refuge in Him" (NIV).
One of my favorite nursery rhymes is the Wise Old Owl written by an anonymous wise person!
A wise old owl lived in an oak
The more he saw the less he spoke
The less he spoke the more he heard.
Why can't we all be like that wise old bird?
The next time someone accuses you of something you didn’t do, pray before you respond. Ask God for courage, wisdom, and love for that person. He will guide you in what, if anything, you should say. Trust in the Lord and He will guide your words.
God, Help us rest in the truth that You are our Redeemer and You alone justify us when others say we did things that we really didn’t do. Give us Your strength to walk in grace when we feel the need to stick up for ourselves. Help us take a step back and ask You if we have done anything to offend or hurt our accusers. Please grant us self-control and remind us of how much You love each person. In Jesus' name, Amen.
Ponder: James 1:19-20, 26, “Take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires… If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself….” (NIV)
Apply: Look up scriptures about speaking, quietness, and self-control. Find a couple that relate to you and memorize one a week for the next month.
Read: My Life Unscripted: Who’s Writing Your Life? by Tricia Goyer
Share: Has a friend, family member, or perhaps a stranger wrongly accused you? If so, how has God helped you through it?
© 2007, 2010 by Samantha Reed. All rights reserved.
Sam most loves to keep quiet at the mountains in a canoe on a lake. Throw in a bonfire, Shane and Shane CD and Scrabble and you she’s one happy girl! To read more of her, visit http://fieldsgold.blogspot.com.