Accusation has become a standard feature of life in Australia today. This is a consequence of the politicisation of everything, and perhaps an invariable result of the hyper-information age, where through social media we know too much things about the lives too many people.
Open your mouth about any contemporary issue and you are likely to be labelled sexist, racist, homophobic, transphobic, Islamophobic, ageist, ableist, misogynist, fundamentalist, misanthropist, misandrist and so on. If you don’t understand all these words,you’re in danger of being accused of one of them. Defamation by slogan has become ordinary in our world.
This is something that believers in Jesus can nevershare in.
Jesus doesn’t Accuse?
When the Pharisees brought to Jesus a woman “caught in the very act of adultery”there was no doubt about her guilt, but the Lord never joined in their accusations(John chapter 8 verses 1-11).
We have perhaps lost sight of how remarkable this is. When a friend serving in an Asian nation told the above story to work mates, the Hindus and Moslems replied, “Jesus should have thrown the first stone to uphold the Law of Moses...Didn’t he throw a stone because he was ashamed of his own sin?”
They said this because they were part of a culture ignorant of the values of the gospel. (Like ours is becoming.) Even when he was so vehemently accused on trial, Jesus “did not revile in return”(1 Peter chapter 2 verse 23. Instead, he totally trusted the judgement of his Father.
The flood of accusation in our culture shows it has fallen under the power of “the accuser”. From the beginning the devil has always deceived humanity through accusation (Genesis chapter 3 verses 4-5; Zechariah chapter 3 verse 1). Where blame rules, Satan rules. This is the sad state of Australia today.
The answer to shamingis to shame the shamers. “Slut shamers” must be “called out”. This strategy is everywhere. Our local supermarket has a “Wall of Shame” covered with photos of shop lifters.
Thankfully, scripture says we can live above this cycle of blame and shame; “And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God.””(Revelation chapter 12, verse 10).
In the midst of a culture turned in on itself the blameless in Christ need never accuse. “Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless” (1 Peter chapter 3 verse 9). This is the power of God that will make the lost sit up and really take notice of what makes followers of Jesus different. Here is a truly profound example.
Though he detested slavery William Wilberforce said, “I mean not to accuse any one, but to take the shame upon myself, in common, indeed, with the whole parliament of Great Britain, for having suffered this horrid trade to be carried on under their authority. We are all guilty—we ought all to plead guilty, and not to exculpate [excuse] ourselves by throwing the blame on others…”.
In taking the shame upon himself this saint was sharing in the sufferings of Christ (Colossians chapter 1 verse 24). No wonder his life had power. Christians need to stop being whingers about our society and in love freely take the state of our moral and spiritual bankruptcy into themselves in prayer.
This is a hard call, which if refused, can only accelerate the plunge into depravity we are witnessing all around us.
Jesus’ people really can “Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people.” (Philippians chapter 2 verse 15), An essential part of doing this is to never speak evil against anyone. Let me clarify.
Though Christ spoke unhesitatingly about evil he never spoke about it in a “get even” manner. Only the narcissistic and self-righteous feel compelled to do this. In the Church becoming an accusation free zone we will become a sanctuary for the worst of sinners; just as Jesus was (1 Timothy chapter 1 verse 15).
The Rev. Dr John Yates is an Anglican minister in Perth and has 5 children and 7 grandchildren. He spends time in praying, mentoring and writing.
John Yates’sprevious articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/john-yates.html
The Rev. Dr John Yates is an Anglican minister in Perth and has 5 children and 7 grandchildren. He spends time in praying, mentoring and writing.John Yates’s previous articles may be viewed athttp://www.pressserviceinternational.org/john-yates.html