When someone attacks your integrity, questions your motives or tries to set a trap for you, how do you feel? When someone tells you a groundless rumor or is hoping that you will be part of the gossip chain, how do you respond? Has anyone ever falsely accused you of saying or doing something that you did not say or do? It can be very challenging to know how best to handle these difficult kinds of situations. Checking your own motives and attitude in order to accurately assess the situation is always a good idea. Asking questions of those who are involved may give you some surprise information and help you to make wise choices. Sometimes simply keeping quiet or ignoring the accusation or rumor can be the best solution. At other times it may be necessary to confront the perpetrator or attacker with a very loving but firm response. Very often wise and neutral people may need to be consulted in order to give counsel, insight and assistance of various kinds.
We know from the Gospels that the highly respected religious leaders were doing all of these things to Jesus. Their jealousy, anger, and desire for power helped to drive them together in an effort to discredit Him. While He was teaching in the temple courts they had the audacity to question His authority. Then, when the Pharisees saw that the efforts of the Sadducees had not confounded Him, they did not lose courage, but brought in experts in the law so that they could ask Him trick questions in order to discredit His wisdom and embarrass Him before the people. The amazing thing is that Jesus never chose to retaliate or to attack them in return. Since all authority was rightfully His and He knew their evil hearts, He only needed to give them an answer that was completely truthful. His responses left the crowds astonished.
It just might be that keeping in mind the words of Jesus when He said, “Love your neighbor as yourself” would be worthwhile to remember when you find yourself in conflict with someone else. What do you think?