No one likes to be accused of committing an injustice or crime, but it’s always much worse when the person publically blamed is completely innocent of the charges brought against him or her.
I can still remember rather vividly the incident that occurred at my elementary school when I was in second grade. A popular girl received a really mean anonymous note, and the teachers were questioning each “suspect” individually at tables in the library.
I hadn’t written the note and explained that I wouldn’t do something like that. I was really insulted and offended when they had me come back a second time for questioning. The arguments against me were 1.) The handwriting on the note was messy. (Apparently I wasn’t the only second grader with poor penmanship.) 2.) I didn’t really like the girl who’d been given the note. (Being outgoing, blond, and popular weren’t traits that (in and of themselves) would win me over as a friend.)
I couldn’t and didn’t deny that I had/have sloppy handwriting, nor did I lie and say I was friends with the girl when I wasn’t. My anxiety, aggravation, and anger escalated, because I was telling the truth and people didn’t believe me. Eventually they caught the real culprit, who was probably given whatever the appropriate punishment was at that time for a second grade meanie with poor penmanship in a public school.
Fast-forward to fourth grade, and I was wrongly accused again of writing a hateful note to a popular girl who turned it in to the teacher. Yet again, I was suspected due to my sloppy scrawling and my refusal to join the popular girl’s fan club of followers. I told the truth, which was eventually discovered by the teachers involved. After that, the proper perpetrator was punished in whatever manner was acceptable at that time for a fourth grade bully in a Catholic school.
How did it feel to be wrongly accused? I felt frustrated, angry, insulted, and offended both times it happened. It really upset me that the teachers and classmates I thought knew me pretty well would suggest that I would do something so hurtful and mean.
Thinking back on how upset I was over wrongly being accused of actions that now seem rather insignificant in the grand scheme of things has given me a different perspective on Christ’s suffering. Jesus was wrongly accused of many serious crimes throughout his life, but He didn’t lash out in anger or take out a few Pharisees with the intention of proving His power. Instead, He let His love, healing, generosity, and eternal wisdom speak for themselves as sufficient proof of His identity, integrity, intentions, and mission.
Lord, help us to reconcile with those we have wrongly accused and with those who have unjustly blamed us. Remind us how honesty, integrity, and truth can and will always overcome lies, deceit, and falsehood. Lead us to be Children of the Light. Amen.