“Afterward I came to the house of Shemaiah the son of Delaiah, the son of Mehetabel, who was a secret informer; and he said, “Let us meet together in the house of God, within the temple, and let us close the doors of the temple, for they are coming to kill you; indeed, at night they will come to kill you.” And I said, “Should such a man as I flee? And who is there such as I who would go into the temple to save his life? I will not go in!” Then I perceived that God had not sent him at all, but that he pronounced this prophecy against me because Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him.” (Nehemiah 6:10-12 NKJV)
Lies, rumors, character assassination, and political traps – it’s not a modern invention. Nehemiah had come to Jerusalem under the blessing of King Artaxerxes. He had protection on his journey and letters to get supplies to rebuild the wall around Jerusalem. At first, those who had controlled the people in Jerusalem laughed at them, when mocking didn’t work, they threatened to attack them. When that failed, Nehemiah’s enemies sought to discredit him with lies and by putting him in compromising situations. Nehemiah fought back against all these attempts to discredit him with an effective weapon: his integrity. He refused to give in to their machinations and continued to focus on the job God and the king had given him.
It’s easy to look at this story and see a lot of today’s political climate, and let’s face it, it happens to both sides. It’s also important to remember that it happens in almost all areas of life as well. Rather than focusing on “them” who are engaged in this, let’s focus on ourselves. It should be obvious, but we need to make sure that we’re never the people spreading lies and rumors about other people. Always speak the truth, in love, about others or avoid speaking about them. At the same time, people will seek ways to bring you down when you’re doing the right thing. The only way to fight back against lies and rumors is to maintain your integrity so that people will know that you couldn’t have done the things you were accused of. When trouble comes, don’t hide. Face it and deal with the situation out in the open. As followers of Christ, we should always be as transparent as possible so that the light of Jesus can shine through us in any situation.
Lord, the most important thing I have is my relationship with You, which is exemplified in the name “Christian.” Keep me strong in You so that people will see by my integrity and love for others that I am bearing Your name well.