Vindication is a powerful biblical term. Paul said the Spirit vindicated Jesus after He appeared in a body which, by implication, happened when the Spirit anointed Him to operate in a supernatural power which proved His words through mighty deeds (Acts 10:38, 1 Timothy 3:16). Additionally, when Jesus rose from the dead, His words were proven true, and He was vindicated to those who doubted Him (1 Corinthians 15:1-4).
Vindication means showing, proving, or demonstrating that something is true. God promises His people that no weapon of accusation will ultimately prosper. It is the heritage of the servants of the Lord to refute or be proven true, whether in this life or in the day of judgment when God will bring out all hidden things into the light (1 Corinthians 4:5).
During this season of great political and civil unrest, it seems evident that a spirit of accusation has gone out to the earth. We are witnessing the deterioration of relationships, with many people leaving churches.
In light of the above, we need to understand that there are only two real ministries in the world: the spirit of accusation and the spirit of intercession. Satan is the accuser of the brethren, and Jesus as our High priest, lives to intercede for His church (Revelations 12:11, Hebrews 7:25).
Whenever you see factions of people in a family, business, or church speaking against others in secret, without giving the accused a chance to give their perspective, you know that the “spirit of accusation” is at work. Conversely, whenever you see a person who interferes with gossip and slander by bringing things to the light for the sake of conflict resolution, that person is operating under “the spirit of intercession” like our Lord Jesus.
For the Lord to vindicate us when unfairly accused, we need to respond a certain way.
The following are seven things we should do when unfairly accused.
1. Pray for your enemies.
When other people falsely portray you, the important thing to do is pray for them. This is important because it protects your heart by giving you God’s perspective and love for them. This stops anger and hatred from forming on the inside of you (Matthew 5:44).
2. Hold no bitterness in your heart.
God commands us not to allow a root of bitterness to spring up in our hearts since it will defile many (Hebrews 12:15). For example, I have often seen or heard about people who get filled with bitterness because they had to be transitioned away from a ministry or job. The next thing you know, they leave the Church and promote a false (accusatory) narrative that spreads among their friends and family, maligning church leaders.
3. Understand that vindication comes from God.
Ultimately, in every situation where false narratives and accusations have caused division within a church, family, or entity, the truth will manifest on behalf of the servants of God.
In Isaiah 57:17-19, God promises His servants that their vindication will come from Him!
4. Continue to follow the course.
I have learned that no matter what others may say about me, I will continue to fix my eyes upon Jesus and stay the course to fulfill my assignment (Hebrews 12:1-2). This is what all mature believers have to do to finish the race the Lord has set before them (Acts 20:24). Jesus had to do the same thing. He had to have His mind set on the joy before Him, which granted Him the endurance to continue despite all the false accusations and eventual crucifixion He experienced.
5. Pray the Psalms.
When you are struggling with faith to believe that God will vindicate you amid slander against you, the best thing to do is to pray certain Psalms out loud. This is because faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God (Romans 10:17). Some appropriate Psalms to read and pray when being falsely accused are Psalms 7:8; 26:1; 43:1; 54:1; as well as Isaiah 50:8.
6. Love everyone but trust only a few.
Jesus commands us to love our neighbor as we love ourselves (Matthew 22:39). He even told us to love our enemies and treat them good (Matthew 5:43-48). Jesus loved all men, even the religious leaders who put Him on the cross (Luke 23:24). However, even as God so loved the world, He did not trust all men (John 3:16, John 2:24).
When somebody breaks our trust by participating in slander against us, we need to forgive them and love them, but that does not mean we should immediately trust them, even if they repent. People should earn our trust through the test of time even though we should love them unconditionally.
7. Walk in humility without intentionally inciting others.
God allows slander against us to test us to see what is inside of us. When we are walking in pride, we will go on the attack and hurl hurtful words towards those who speak against us. Although it is within our rights to confront others in the spirit of Matthew 18:15-17, it is never good to fling insults back. When we act like this, we elevate the conflict and give the enemy fuel for the fire. Our first response should be to humble ourselves when we are criticized or slandered and evaluate whether there is any truth we can glean from our accusers, even if they did it with the intent of hurting us.
However, in the case of a person or faction that is causing division in a church, Matthew 18 is not always applicable because their sin is against the congregation, not merely against an individual or leader. Consequently, in certain situations, the Apostle Paul admonishes the Church to “mark those who cause divisions,” which has to do with bringing to the light the lies being spoken in darkness for the sake of protecting the innocent people in the Church (Romans 16:17).
In conclusion, when we do the seven things mentioned above, we give God space to move on our behalf and vindicate us for the sake of His glory and Kingdom.
Dr. Joseph Mattera is an internationally-known author, consultant, and theologian whose mission is to influence leaders who influence culture. He is the founding pastor of Resurrection Church, and leads several organizations, including The U.S. Coalition of Apostolic Leaders and Christ Covenant Coalition