Silence in the Face of Accusations

One of my favorite Old Testament prophecies about Jesus is found in Isaiah 52:13 – 53:12, titled “The Suffering and Glory of the Servant.” Within these words about what would happen to Jesus when He was crucified, we find this passage that holds for us a wonderful example of how we should respond to accusations, complaints, and persecution.

He 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 its shearers is silent,
   so he did not open his mouth.
Isaiah 53:7 (NIV).

This verse was fulfilled during Jesus’ “trial” before Pilate:

But when the leading priests and the elders made their accusations against him, Jesus remained silent. “Don’t you hear all these charges they are bringing against you?” Pilate demanded. But Jesus made no response to any of the charges, much to the governor’s surprise. Matthew 27:12-14 (NIV).

Sometimes in life, we face opposition. Others say things about us that are unkind, maybe not even true, in an attempt to provoke us or to get us into trouble with someone else. Jesus warned that we would face troubles and persecution, even that others might hate us because of Him. He told His disciples and us: “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33b (NIV). So the fact that others unfairly complain about us and that we face troubles is not really all that surprising.

Painting hung at the Cathedral of St. John the Devine in New York City

What is important is how we respond in such situations. Jesus provided an example for us to follow when He remained silent before the accusations of the leading priests and elders. I have found that His example is a good one.

Many years ago in a previous job, I faced a situation in which someone unfairly suggested that I and the people I supervised were not doing our best. At the time, I did not follow Jesus’ example. Instead, I became very angry and basically chewed the person out in front of a bunch of other people. I am not proud of that moment, and within 30 minutes of storming out of the meeting I felt compelled to apologize to all those present. I had not been a good role model for my staff and I had not been a good witness for my Christian faith. That was also the end of any helpful relationship with the person I had yelled at.

I suppose I could say I was like Jesus when He overturned the tables of the money changers in the temple, and that my anger was righteous in that I was defending my staff; but that would just be making excuses for my own poor behavior.

I have since learned there is a better way to deal with complaints, accusations, and persecution. The better way is to follow Jesus’ example of staying calm in the face of opposition. Often, by staying calm and saying nothing until the time is right, we allow others to see the falsity of the accusations against us rather than being convinced by our angry response that the accusations must be true. The saying “Methinks the lady doth protest too much” from Hamlet comes to mind.

The natural reaction to being falsely accused or having someone complain about us is to want to vehemently defend ourselves against anything being said against us, but that natural reaction does not often work to our advantage; nor does it further the Kingdom of God because it does not show the difference faith in Him makes in our lives. Responding with Holy Spirit gentleness and self-control will go a long way.

So the next time you face opposition or accusations, remember Jesus’ example. Step back and pray about it, just as He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane when He knew persecution was on its way. Then when complaints and false accusations come, remain calm and silent until the Holy Spirit bids you speak. When you do respond, do so with gentleness and self-control so that others might see the work of God within you, and He be glorified.

I am a Jesus Freak, and I don't care who knows it. I am a wife, mother, sister, aunt, daughter, and friend. My blood family is only part of the larger family of Christ that I belong to. I love to write, especially about my dear Savior.


14 Responses

  1. Linda, one of the best things that ever happened to me with Jesus is when I learned to dismiss the accusations, pray for the accuser, and still treat them well. I am so unlike before who won’t miss the chance to get back at the offender with the intention of hurting way beyond I was hurt. Funny how I felt such a loser after ‘winning’ the war.

    Love and humility in Christ are still the perfect weapon that can caught off guard the opponent to surrender in peace.

    • Rea, It is wonderful to have learned this lesson from Jesus, isn’t it? It brings so much peace. And I love what you added about the opponent being caught off guard by our responding with love and humility! Perhaps as a result they will come to know Him and be changed, too. 🙂 Peace, Linda

  2. Linda,

    This is such a good post! I also identify with your incident.

    I have had a few blow ups with my kids that started when I was being unfairly criticized by them. I knew it was a weakness and would pray about it (still do), and even had some occasions where I actually behaved the right way…but the memories of the times I didn’t have been a source of torment at times. When the person you hurt happens to be the son you passionately love it is so painful, and you find yourself longing to be able to go back in time and behave differently.

    There were fewer incidents that involved people out in the world, but I can say something that some might find humorous. There have been times when I have been with my kids somewhere and someone would speak to me in a way that upset me, and I would remain calm and not say much like you mentioned in your post. But I overheard the kids a short distance away commenting to each other…”Look at mom. She’s blinking! She’s blinking and flashing…she must be mad!” Then of course they got to hear all about it in the car which probably wasn’t pleasing to the Lord. 🙂

    Thank you for this important reminder of learning to not be so defensive.


    • Theresa, I also have those times I’ve lost my temper with my son and wish I could take it back and heal the hurt it caused. It was usually over something stupid, just me being frustrated. It is actually some of the words that come out of my mouth towards him that God showed me when I was struggling with my poem on gentleness. I do find that the more I trust in Him, the more thoughtful I am about what I say and how I say it. Jesus really gets all the credit for that change in me. And somehow, in spite of my temper, my son still tells me I’m the best mom in the world. 🙂 Peace, Linda

      • Mine tells me the same thing. I miss him so much. He is 23 and lives out of state now. Remember me in your prayers. The past couple years have been full of so much change…and some changes are harder than others.


      • Theresa, I will certainly keep you in my prayers. My son just turned 16, and I’m just starting to realize he won’t always be just in the next room. A couple of weeks ago I posted the video of the song “Boys (Lesson One)” by Jars of Clay. It is supposed to be a father talking to his son, but it could easily be a mother. There are some lyrics of that song that bring tears to my eyes because I know my son will “weather love and lose his innocence” and that “there will be liars and thieves who take from” him, and I just want to keep him and protect him forever. I know I can’t – And I really deep down do not want to. I want him to grow and love and experience all that God has in store for him. Okay, I’ve gone on and on, and probably didn’t make you feel any better, but just know you are not alone. Peace, Linda

  3. So beautifully and honestly put. There is so much power in staying silent.

    I can’t express how happy I am to report that I haven’t lost control in anger in at least five years. Truth is, every time I yelled, accused, and threw things, I was the one who looked crazy and risked turning an argument into violence against me. I can say from experience that Jesus’s example has been a true blessing for me.

    Jesus used the power of silence to His advantage all the time… didn’t even raise His voice when casting out demons. “Yet He did not open His mouth, even in the face of the worst accusations.

    As you wrote in your story, your anger may have been justified, but would you rather be happy or right? : )

    • Linda, The incident I mentioned in the post was about 8 years ago, and was not the last time I lost my temper but it’s the last time I did so as publicly as that incident. I am so blessed that He has not only given me His example, but He has also given me His Holy Spirit to guide me and give me the strength to remain silent. I’ve seen the blessings that come from that reaction numerous times in the last few years. Peace, Linda

  4. Thank you, Linda

    “I have since learned there is a better way to deal with complaints, accusations, and persecution. The better way is to follow Jesus’ example of staying calm in the face of opposition. Often, by staying calm and saying nothing until the time is right, we allow others to see the falsity of the accusations against us rather than being convinced by our angry response that the accusations must be true. The saying “Methinks the lady doth protest too much” from Hamlet comes to mind.”

    I groan… I groan deeply.

    Learning to trust Him to be my advocate. I confess I don’t always ‘patiently wait’. Sometimes I wait but in my waiting I am hurt and disappointed but I fight the natural instinct as you point out. I have much to learn, yet. It’s not easy taking the fall when one is innocent. I’m glad He did it for me and I’m praying He’ll help me to follow His lead.

    What Deb said. Thanks again for sharing.


    • Ann, I can’t say that I have learned to wait without feeling the hurt and disappointment, and even feeling quite angry; but by trusting in Jesus I have been able to keep that between Him and me. Peace, Linda

  5. I know how hard that is to do, Linda, and have failed at it before as well. The times I have remained calm though brought such a peace. Praying to hold on to this advice, pray that it be ingrained into me . . .my natural unnatural response! 🙂 It is just things like this that glorify God, even if we suffer damage from it. It may glorify Him more for us to suffer that before men, then to lift up ourselves and our rights before Him.
    God bless you and all the ways you are glorifying Him today!

    • Deb, The more I rely on Him the better I get at remaining calm. He is so faithful if we will just ask for His help! And He does then bring peace, doesn’t He? Peace, Linda

      • Had to come back after reading Theresa’s comments and your replies. This is so me too, with my kids. Just sayin’ . . .confessing. 🙂 With Aub . . .it’s so important for me to stay calm and silent. No matter what. And I don’t always do it, give in sometimes to the temptation to defend myself. sigh. Things can get ugly real quick with her, if she feels pushed or challenged, especially if she is extra tired. It’s better to stay silent during a verbal attack from her than to verbalize back and have it go into a full scale physical attack. These happen less and less, but do still happen. I wanted you go know how much this post spoke to me along those lines. Thank you!

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