“And thou hast also appointed prophets to preach of thee at Jerusalem, saying, There is a king in Judah: and now shall it be reported to the king according to these words. Come now therefore, and let us take counsel together. Then I sent unto him, saying, There are no such things done as thou sayest, but thou feignest (invent) them out of thine own heart. For they all made us (tried to make us) afraid, saying, Their hands shall be weakened from the work, that it be not done. Now therefore, O God, strengthen my hands.”Nehemiah 6:7-9
I remember back to my elementary days and the tall tales that were told at recess and around the lunch table. I remember my stories getting more elaborate as my audience became captivated and enthralled by the words I was saying. At times it seemed as if I was reading out of a Mark Twain novel and in the end, some believed me and others rolled their eyes at my lies and antics. There were some kids who elaborated on stories and others who spoke nothing but lies. Their stories were always devoid of any truth and the reason we knew they were lying is that their lips were moving. We were all guilty of lying, but it did not take long before someone would call you out on your lying and the crowd turned against you like a fair weather Phoenix fan. We would tolerate some elaboration, but there was no way a boldface lie would pass the test from the world’s greatest critics.
I was a senior in high school and struggling on many levels. I was not having the best year of my life as I thought I would, and it seemed nothing was going my way. I was accused of so many things that year, some that held truth to them and some of them were entirely laughable. I desired to lived for God that year, win my first girlfriend back, and repeat as state champs in soccer. I went 0-3 in that and it seemed no matter what I did I found failure around every corner. Our family was planning to leave Arizona to start a new life in a different state, and my failure at living for God was the basis for all of my troubles and disappointments. I was ineligible to play basketball because my demerits exceeded the level I needed to stay under to participate in sports. I wished I could rewind and start the year all over but this is not the way life works. The saying, “hindsight is 20/20”, is true because looking back on things we would certainly make different decisions in some cases.
As I sat in the dean’s office reviewing my file, I was told of things I had done that I simply laughed at due to the ludicrousness of it all. I tried to defend my good name, but a good name was not to be found. I was made aware of some allegations for the first time as I sat there and listened and wondered how these items were In my file but not brought to my attention. I was basically told I was an active participant in these activities, even though I was not even aware of them. After an hour of arguing about these allegations, I quit caring and just accepted my fate as the dean tried to convince me of my wrongdoing. I had done plenty wrong, so I was not sure why it was so important to include the extracurricular ones I was not even involved in. It is difficult thing when someone tries to convince you of a lie that you know for a fact holds no truth. I was in no position to call him out on it, though, even though I did my best to refute the ridiculous rap sheet.
Although I had been no saint that year, I did not believe it was right to be convinced that I did something when I knew I had not done it. It can be discouraging to defend yourself from lies that some believe, even though the allegations are not true. Nehemiah had a much better reputation than I, but he was told lies to discourage him and to take him away from the great work God had called him to. He called them out on their lies much like my fellow students did when someone was talking bologna around the lunch table. Satan will try and use anything to discourage us and weaken our hands from doing the Lord’s work. Our prayer must be for the Lord to strengthen our hands to do the good work He has called us to.
Have you had someone falsely accuse you of something that simply was not true? Have you had someone try to convince you of a lie and make you think it was true? Have you been discouraged by the words of others? Have you quit a ministry because of discouragement from others? May we ask God to strengthen our hands and get back in the fight. God will fight for us and the truth will always be the greatest enemy to a lie. Satan is no match for God, and may we never forget that “greater is He that is in us than He that is in the world.”