Let’s be honest … words hurt! They can hurt physically, emotionally and spiritually. Words have the power to create, bless and bring life… or to destroy, curse and bring destruction to a person’s spirit, soul and body. Accusing words can make us emotionally and physically sick – whether the words are coming out of us toward others or others towards us. The spirit of accusation in its many sinister forms is so prevalent in our culture that we can become desensitized and believe it is normal and okay to practice it. We need to recognize accusation when it rises up and disarm these weapons that harm others and ourselves! Here are five common weapons of accusation:
1. Accusation is charging or blaming someone with a fault or an offense. When you criticize, accuse, defame, incriminate, indict, denounce and reprove you are using the weapon of accusation. On the other hand, someone might be condemning, faulting and rebuking you.
The entire Law is fulfilled in a single decree: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out, or you will be consumed by each other. Galatians 5:15
God wants us to choose to live in the opposite of accusation. When you find yourself using this weapon against others, turn your curses into blessings. Turn your blame into praise. If you are being accused, practice the gifts of forgiveness and pardon.
2. Judging is forming an opinion or conclusion about something. In the normal course of the day you have hundreds of opinions about the events and situation around you. It is not your job to judge! When those opinions or conclusions turn into condemnation and criticism, accusation has reared its ugly head.
Do not judge or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Matthew 7:1-2
When you find yourself judging someone, seek, think and speak the good in that person. Give that person the grace to grow into the beautiful person God created them to be. Find the diamond buried in the dirt and call it out in that person. Change your hurtful words to helpful words.
3. Offense is an annoyance or resentment brought about by a perceived insult or disregard for you, your standards or principles. It feels like a personal attack! It makes you feel slighted or dishonored and often causes an immediate reaction of counter-accusation. You might be tempted to be offended in the course of any day. Either intentionally or unintentionally, others will challenge or overlook what you say, feel and do. But the interesting thing about offense is that you have to TAKE offense to give it power over you.
A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense. (Proverbs 19:11 NIV)
In God’s kingdom you can choose to let those offending words or actions flow past you, confident in who you are in Christ. When you think someone has offended you, you can intentionally change your thoughts and “assume the best intent”. Give grace, forgive and go on!
4. Gossip is information or opinion that is widely shared without any authorization, confirmation or accuracy. We all know those people who habitually reveal personal or sensational facts about others. We have all seen the damage that can be done to a person or an organization when they become the subject of gossip, whether it is truth or falsehood.
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. (Ephesians 4:29 NIV)
It sounds harsh, but your duty is to keep your mouth shut about what you know about another person and keep your opinion to yourself. Our other job is to go to God in prayer for His will and wisdom in that person’s life!
5. Innuendo is a veiled or subtle reflection on character, skills, reputation or actions of another. Often the person saying these statements will feign innocence and may even add a complimentary statement about the person while insinuating, slandering and smearing the person. Consider the heart of these types of revelations – pretending to have a kind heart while making sure they have conveyed their destructive message. Pastors often become the victim of these types of statements and God is clear that you must not touch the anointed people who he has chosen as our spiritual leaders.
A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart. Luke 6:45
Instead of undermining the person with our subtle criticism, we need to think of how we can be of help in the situation. We can quietly come alongside the person in prayer, asking God to help them in whatever way they need so that they will be successful and blessed.
It’s time to recognize these weapons of accusation in your life this week. When you feel the urge to engage in accusation, ask God to show you His heart in the situation. Intentionally turn your accusing thoughts into thoughts of grace and blessing. If you feel false accusation coming against you, rest in knowing your value in God’s eyes. You’ll be amazed to see the effect it has on you and those around you!