Jesus defended others, but never himself. The hassling, gossip, rumors, indictments were all left alone. Wild criticism, resentment and misunderstandings went unchallenged.
The early church followed that example. Few cases can be cited where believers turned into religious detectives. No one was concerned about the lying tongue or the poison pen of others.
If the charges are true, receive them and be changed by them. If the attack is evil and the indictments are malicious, then check the level of your “WOOD PILE“. The wise King Solomon wrote, “Without wood a fire goes out; without gossip a quarrel dies down. As charcoal to embers and as wood to fire, so is a quarrelsome man for kindling strife” (Proverbs 26:20-21).
As kids, we had a saying, “Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me”. Don’t believe it. It isn’t true. Name calling, labeling, innuendo and plain old gossip all are poison arrows to the heart. “They go down to the innermost parts of the belly (gut)” (Proverbs 26:22). “Gossip is a cheap clay pot covered with silver dross”. The character of the ‘whisperer’ is suspect. He fuels the fire with flattering lips to the ears of those he hates. “When he speaketh fair, believe him not, for there are seven abominations in his heart” (Proverbs 6:16-19; 26:25).
Now check your “MOVING AND DIGGING EQUIPMENT!” The Patriarch Isaac, of Old Testament fame, moved to the land of Gerar. He dug wells, planted crops, and prospered. His enemies, the Philistines, filled his wells with dirt. So he moved to the valley and uncovered wells of water which had been dug in the days of his father, Abraham. The herdsman of Gerar quarreled with Isaac’s herdsmen saying, “The water is ours”. He moved on and dug other wells. They quarreled over these also. Isaac moves yet again and dug another well, and over this one they did not quarrel. He called its name Rehoboth, and he said, “For now the Lord hath made room for us and we shall be fruitful in he land (Genesis 26:22).
Isaac never fueled the fire, and behind Rehoboth was a heap of patience, self-control and defenseless love. He would have been justified in fighting for what was rightfully his, but Isaac would have none of it. His woodpile was empty and he went right on moving and digging.
Jesus taught the same when he said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth. But I say to you, do not resist one who is evil, but if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also” (Matthew 5:38-39).
When the words of Jesus seem difficult to follow, remember his admonition and the example of Isaac and return good for evil.