Problem solving is a leadership dynamic. The wisdom to govern was the request of Solomon, for example, because he needed to make decisions and solve problems if he was to be king. Obviously, we are not kings, but we do represent the King as kingdom leaders.
As a kingdom leader, you deal with false accusations as a leader. I’m not talking about making this personal, because it is kingdom when a kingdom leader is falsely accused.
You cannot allow false accusations to take on a life of their own because you have authority and responsibility as a representative of the King. Saying, “Well, Jesus didn’t answer His accusers,” doesn’t fit the scenario if the false accusations our against your leadership assignment. Being passive is just another excuse to justify cowardice. On the other hand, dealing with the situation in fleshly anger, vengeance, unforgiveness, or pride makes your leadership response worse than the false accusation.
You don’t step back and allow someone else fill the capacity He has given you. You lead! And, if there is anything that makes you vulnerable to the false accusations, you make this an opportunity to step toward the flaw and become a better leader. You allow your life and leadership to stand the scrutiny of those to whom you are accountable even when the accusations are false. You will certainly discover another opportunity to be improved in this moment of testing.
“Do not listen or receive an accusation against an elder until two or three witnesses establish is validity.” [See 1 Timothy 5:19.]
This particular is usually ignored by people because they are so unaware of the principle, think they have the right to be part of the process when they have no leadership standing to listen, and because people simply love to diminish leaders in order to feel more important.
False accusations pretty much come with the territory of leadership. Some measure of blending usually occurs between accusations and false accusations. Seldom is the false accusation void of a twisting serpent’s tongue of deceit, using actual events, prevailing impressions, or available information.
I’ve been dealing with both accusations and false accusations all my ministry life, the “how to” of dealing with false accusations becomes part of leadership life.
Step 1 – Release the gift of forgiveness first, not after you get the facts or understand the motivations. Forgive. If you wait, you may get into denial as a means of dealing with the pain and neglect the fundamental responses of kingdom leadership. Forgive. If you do not do this first, your Father will not forgive you when you overreact or internalize your defense. You may step into anger, frustration, fear, or retaliation; so forgive first and short circuit the enemy’s offense trap. Forgive first so you have a completely forgiven heart before God.
Step 2 – Make yourself accountable to spiritual leaders who have the place and position to confront your true feelings. Make yourself available. Don’t wait to prepare your defense, and then call them in. Immediately, go to them and confess openly your perspective on the accusations with full expression of your authentic feelings about the situation. Don’t be afraid of expressing your true feeling with those to whom you are accountable. If you are required to cover up your true feelings, you may need a different accountability group. You need to “get real” about the situation to avoid receiving a wound or dropping into disgust or despair about the betrayal. You should run right to your accountability group.
Step 3 – Get the facts yourself. Lead so someone else doesn’t. You heard about the false accusations from someone, so find out what was actually said or is still being said. Never listen to someone’s drama queen or king presentation of gossip, the story of someone flying off the handle, or fall into knee jerking. Don’t jump to conclusions about the accuser’s motivations and the meaning of what you initially hear without getting the facts. Many “false accusations” are actually someone’s poorly produced complaint system at work, a cry for help, a tantrum for attention that you feed if you don’t understand what really happened or was actually communicated. Reality and truth always walk together, so get some of both.
Step 4 – Shut down the lineup of defenders who wish to pick sides to defend you before there’s anything to defend, who get into false accusations of their own to discredit the person or persons falsely accusing you. Don’t allow people who love you to get out of position, out in front of you, defending what needs no defense. Stop the feud before it becomes a feud, so the enemy doesn’t have the opportunity to feed the situation or control the agenda and message of the moment. Lead! Leaders lead in crises so someone else doesn’t gain leadership in their places. Be as aggressive as is needed, without anger or overt intimidation in our voice or behavior, but be certain that everyone realizes God’s representative will represent God in this situation, not some bozo on a ego booster high. Do not remove yourself from the situation unless your accountability group finds that this will be the next step in bringing a Biblical response.
Step 5 – Answer all false accusations at the appropriate level of exposure. Don’t make a private matter public; don’t leave a public matter to private discussion. The reach of the accuser’s communication is the scope of the leader’s response. The actual source of the false accusations is where you start. The wording of your response is not nearly as important as your heart in the matter. Seek to meet with the person or persons making the false accusations to see if they will retract or make it clear that their words were taken out of context or misunderstood, if that is the case. Try to avoid allowing them to lie their way out of the corner from which they falsely accused lest they simply repeat the behavior the next time they are angry or afraid. But, communicate your response without creating a sense of self-pity or victimization on your own part. Again, lead. Solve problems, as every leader is required to do. Seek to end the issue, put that thing in the grave, and settle it as much as is possible.
Step 6 – Establish some final definition to the relationships involved. Either the person responded to the opportunity to retract or clarify, and you can reset the relationship, or tragically, they chose to ignore every outreach of your leadership and must be identified for their behavior to protect the Ecclesia. Do this at the level of their communication; keep the scope as small as possible, but you must always settle the issue at the Ecclesia level when the person refuses to face the reality of such a serious misdeed. If the person or persons involved are not believers, the issue must be dealt with in a totally different way: in this article, I am speaking strictly of believers. If the believers do not acknowledge your leadership in this matter, other leaders must be involved to press for kingdom integrity. If that fails, you are left to settle the matter as best as you can and move on. since you have exhausted your leadership reach. Establish finality from that point of reference.
Step 7 – Establish closure in yourself, your family, and the other leaders in your scope of leadership so no residue of unsettled bitterness or unforgiveness clouds the atmosphere or leaves open doors to further hellish intrusions. As a leader, protect those you lead from unresolved issues so they don’t continue to process the situation without reaching a point of closure.
You will discover a great deal of dysfunction among kingdom leaders, and the most likely scenario of dealing with false accusations will find you watching other leaders accepting the false accuser in as a victim of abuse or “misunderstanding.” You will watch in dismay as other leaders justifying the accuser’s victimization with false mercy, placating them for being treated so unjustly and setting them up to repeat their behaviors. Other leaders will give them permission to be rebellious, even continue to speak the false accusation after it is obvious to those actually involved that it is a false accusation.
Do not allow the closure to be reopened once you’ve done all you can do. Let it go! Do not enter into accusation yourself against your accuser, but speak the truth in love. Do not operate in the same spirit, but don’t mince words about truth and reality. Allow the confrontation to speak for itself: the accusations are false, and the perpetrator of false accusations stands accused by his or her own actions. Don’t build a case and enter into a courtroom for punishment. Your goal is always reconciliation and restoration, but the people actually involved are the only one who can accomplish that process. So, if the process gets short-circuited, all you can do is all you can do.
Do not fear that this process will be repeated. Know that it will definitely be repeated, but do not fear it! Be ready to lead when it happens. That’s what leaders do.