To a lesser extent, Jesus' followers may experience some of this type of suffering as well. A kind gesture may be taken as emotional blackmail. When a relationship has gone sour, one party is apt to recall a skewed version of events and put words in the mouth of the other party that were never spoken. In countries like Pakistan, a Christian believer can be accused of uttering blasphemy against Mohammed when a neighbour simply wants to do away with him. This crime is punishable by death. How can we deal with these things?
The Psalm-writer David knew that he should go to the Lord with these things. Twice in Psalm 35 he calls out, "Contend with those who contend with me." Becoming defensive with our accusers is not likely to be productive. It is only the Lord who can change their hearts. Jesus also could have spelled out to the High Priest exactly what his mission was, but those whose hearts are hardened cannot accept anything we might say in response. There may be times to get the help of a lawyer to defend us, but our ultimate hope is not in crafty arguments or affidavits.
On behalf of those falsely accused today, I pray this prayer, based on portions of Psalm 35:
Contend, O LORD, with those who contend against your people. Take up a shield and come to their aid. When ruthless witnesses come forward and question them about things they know nothing about, let the truth come forth. When others make themselves the enemies of your people without cause or hate them without reason, give your people poise, the ability to stand in your grace. LORD, you have seen all this. You know the whole situation, not just from a limited human point of view. Please vindicate the righteous so that those who gloat now may recognize their own confusion. Give your people patient endurance when relief does not happen right away. When the truth becomes known and affirmed, we will all give you thanks in the great assembly. Heart-felt worship will result when lies are no longer tolerated or accepted. Thank you for giving us the Truth that sets us free, your Son Jesus Christ.