“The first to plead his case seems right, until another comes and examines him.” Proverbs 18:17
Today’s verse, like many of the Proverbs, presents us with a commonsense scenario. There are two sides to every story. People often share different versions of the truth when accusations arise. So, how do we know which to believe? Well, truth can withstand examination. Let’s look at three tests we can implement to help discern what’s true.
First, employ the test of God’s Word. Are the accusers acting biblically? Did they attack publicly before confronting privately? Are they acting in anger, pride, or jealousy? Remember, accusation is a primary weapon of Satan. Sometimes, it’s all he needs to discredit a believer’s testimony. So, if witnesses and evidence don’t support the accusation, we can reasonably question its truth.
Next, use the test of time. Impulsive conclusions often create more confusion than clarity. Time, on the other hand, allows tempers to cool down so rational conversations can take place. While talking and listening takes time, the reward is accuracy and truth.
Finally, draw on the test of personal relationships. Because believers are accountable to one another, we should build relationships with mutual accountability in mind. So, what do those closest to the people involved say about the situation? Be careful not to assume that anyone close to the accused is simply lying. Once we do that we’re no longer in pursuit of the truth. And truth matters more opinion.
Christians should protect the integrity of the innocent, regardless of ideology differences. Finger pointing and false accusations cause unnecessary pain and heartache. Even when the allegations turn out to be true, believers need to respond with patience and compassion. Truth can withstand examination. So, before taking sides, give God’s Word, time, and accountability an opportunity to work.