I'm reading this morning from Mark 15, and struck by Jesus' reaction to being railed against by the priests. At one point, Pilate expresses astonishment that Jesus won't respond to the priests' accusations.
"Aren't you going to answer them? What about all these charges they are bringing against you?" But Jesus said nothing, much to Pilate's surprise. Mark 15:4,5
The ability to stand in the face of accusation and not respond is one that I'll admit that I am not able to do yet. I am not entirely capable of refraining from spinning everyday stories to accentuate my own abilities and virtues, omitting my own screw ups and pointing out the flaws of others....how can I hope to emulate this ability to remain close-mouthed while being accused, particularly when being accused falsely? I am too concerned with protecting my own virtue. Perhaps protecting my own pride might be a more accurate phrase.
I'm trying to focus on two things I believe will help me next time I get called on the carpet, guilty or innocent...
Realize when righteousness is being attacked.
Once prejudices are put aside - being attacked for being too short, too tall, to light, to dark, etc - people are essentially attacked for one of two things: Being righteous or being unrightous. It could be that we are accused for being unrightous - having wronged someone or dishonoring a spiritual principle. In that case, the accusation is our friend that corrects us. I don't want to get into the habit of fighting back when being legitimately called out for my own wrongs. I want to take the opportunity to correct them.
Likewise, sometimes, like Jesus, we are attacked for rightousness. When it is righteousness that has our accusers up in arms, we're in good company. Jesus said that those who (joined him in being) persecuted for rightousness sake would have full run of the kingdom of God. It could be that those who are persecuting you in this life are doing you a huge favor for the next.
Remember that no one on earth sees you in your true calling.
Many of us walk with an accute sense of our enternal destiny. God has given us a very true glimpse of who He has called us to be. In the Spirit, we know we are a prophet, priest and king. Unfortunately, to the rest of the world, we're still a dorky annoyance. Eternal destiny does not transform us into the greatest thing on this side of the end of the age. We can be fully destined and fully doofus in one fell swoop.
The high wire of walking out the Sermon on the Mount is suspended by the tension that exists between who we are and who we are becoming. No one - not even your momma - sees what is on the other end of that high wire, so understand when they complain about how close you are to the first tower, hanging on white knuckled with your knees wrapped around the cable.
I'm coming to the opinion that reality for me is better defined by my response to accusation than the accusation itself...that who I am is better determined by my need to lash out or my willingness to endure than it is by my excellent legal defense.