Act 24:1-9 And after five days the high priest Ananias came down with some elders and a spokesman, one Tertullus. They laid before the governor their case against Paul. (2) And when he had been summoned, Tertullus began to accuse him, saying: “Since through you we enjoy much peace, and since by your foresight, most excellent Felix, reforms are being made for this nation, (3) in every way and everywhere we accept this with all gratitude. (4) But, to detain you no further, I beg you in your kindness to hear us briefly. (5) For we have found this man a plague, one who stirs up riots among all the Jews throughout the world and is a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes. (6) He even tried to profane the temple, but we seized him. (8) By examining him yourself you will be able to find out from him about everything of which we accuse him.” (9) The Jews also joined in the charge, affirming that all these things were so.
One tactic of the devil is so characteristic of him that he is even given a title from it – the accuser of the brethren. The accuser.
Accusation is a powerful weapon. It, and its allies (slander, malice, lies…) are regularly used by the enemy against Christ’s people. And if you have been the target of one of these wicked ones, you know that power. Being accused is a devastating thing – especially when the accusations are false. That is what was going on in the scripture above when Paul was being accused by emissaries of the devil.
One of the most wickedly powerful qualities of accusation is that even the target of it can come to believe that the false claims are true. You’ve experienced it, right? If you have lived with a wicked person, having ongoing and regular contact with them, you know how, over time, you can start believing the accusations made against you.
- You always….
- You were unkind
- You never…
- You are stupid
- You, you, you, you….
When we know such a charge is false, it is damaging enough because other people believe it or at minimum the words are painful in themselves. But when we start to believe them, the power of accusation can become devastating. If I am as bad as my accuser says, then I am going to withdraw. I am going to expect that I will sabotage every relationship and be rejected. And it will always be my fault. Just ask my accuser.
Think more about this. A very, very common characteristic of evil people such as abusers, narcissists, sociopaths and so on is they are never wrong. They are never to blame. Consequently as things go wrong around them, someone must be blamed. Being in a relationship with such a person will guarantee that you will be held guilty, blamed, accused, shamed, and made to feel fundamentally botched and worthless. This is the stuff that drives people to suicide, to all kinds of mental and physical ailments, to despair, depression, and hopelessness. The devil works every single moment to destroy his targets and this is one of his weapons of choice.
I have made this observation before, but it is worth making again and again. Just how likely is it that YOU are the one to blame every single time? That it is always YOUR fault? I mean surely we are right some of the time – but you would never know it to listen to our accusers. “Oh, your marriage is on the rocks? Well, you need to take a look at yourself, you know.” “He raged in anger at you last night? Look at yourself and see how you caused it.” The dinner you made was pathetic. The dress you put on looked stupid. The bathroom you painted looks horrid. And on and on and on and on the accusations flow.
Are you really THAT bad? That flawed and stupid? I highly doubt it. In fact, the abuse victims I have known who have had these and so many more wicked accusations fired at them, are really quite remarkable people. I mean, to endure the suffering they have been through is just amazing. What they have accomplished in all that darkness really blows me away quite often. I don’t think I could do it.
Take care then in this regard. Consider where these accusations are coming from. They originate from the one Jesus called the father of lies, and he has many, many of his wicked children out and about spreading those lies at every opportunity.
Did you marry an abuser? Are you going through the misery of being in such a marriage? Well, let’s just remind ourselves of this truth – it’s not your fault. It isn’t you fault that your wicked spouse does what he/she does. Even if you could somehow miraculously become as perfect as Jesus Himself, guess what? The problems would not end. They didn’t end for Jesus, Because He is not the culprit. And neither are you.