I don't really care what people think about me, but when they go after my husband, it's harder for me to not get stirred up in my heart. One day, while at the store, a person who had never graced the doors of our church or heard my husband preach walked up to me and spoke as if implying that she was sorry that I had to be married to him. It took everything I had to not tell her what I knew about the self-serving talebearer she had heard that lie from! You see, my husband is a man of incredible integrity, honesty, character and humility so to hear someone slander him without any evidence or first hand witness based on what this so-called minister had said was infuriating. How many others had heard what she had. How many had she repeated it to?
I happened to be weeding a flower garden later that morning and the more I stewed about it, the madder I got until I just decided that the next time something like that happened I was just going to say what I knew to be true. After having settled this in my mind, I began to calm down. It was then I heard a still, small voice. He said "for what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God." (1 Peter 2:20) And then, "for it is better, if God should will is so, that you suffer for doing what is right rather than for doing what is wrong." (1 Peter 3:17) And finally "therefore, those also who suffer according to the will of God shall entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right!" (1 Peter 4:19)
I wish I could say that those verses brought total peace to me immediately, but they didn't. I was still mad about the injustice of the whole situation. I was mad that taking the high road, or the narrow road-however you want to describe the right path, was the path of greatest resistance, at least for my flesh. Quite honestly I just wanted to punch someone in the mouth! But I had to make a decision right then and there. Do I defend my husband and justify gossip or do I, like Jesus, stand in the face of his accusers and not say a word? Do I right this situation by lowering myself and doing the very same wrong that was done to cause it in the first place? Can two wrongs make anything right?
Again, I heard, "just do what is right because it is right, because it pleases me, because it's what Christ did." And I said "yes, Lord." In this case, the Lord did rectify the situation in a very surprising way. There are others out there who accuse my husband of all kinds of things. (I've noticed that they always accuse him of the things they are guilty of instead of actually finding a valid fault in my husband to expose.) But now I don't struggle. Immediately I hear that voice saying once again "just do what's right. I will take care of EVERYTHING that concerns your husband, your family and your ministry." Does it still make me mad? Momentarily. Then I remember what the Psalmist said in Psalm 73:
Surely God is good to Israel,
To those who are pure in heart!
But as for me, my feet came close to stumbling,
My steps had almost slipped.
For I was envious of the arrogant
As I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
For there are no pains in their death,
And their body is fat.
They are not in trouble as other men,
Nor are they plagued like mankind.
Therefore pride is their necklace;
The garment of violence covers them.
Their eye bulges from fatness;
The imaginations of their heart run riot.
They mock and wickedly speak of oppression;
They speak from on high.
They have set their mouth against the heavens,
And their tongue parades through the earth.
Therefore his people return to this place,
And waters of abundance are drunk by them.
They say, “O" How does God know?
And is there knowledge with the Most High?”
Behold, these are the wicked;
And always at ease, they have increased in wealth.
Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure
And washed my hands in innocence;
For I have been stricken all day long
And chastened every morning.
If I had said, “I will speak thus,”
Behold, I would have betrayed the generation of Your children.
When I pondered to understand this,
It was troublesome in my sight
Until I came into the >sanctuary of God;
Then I perceived their end.
Surely You set them in slippery places;
You cast them down to destruction.
How they are destroyed in a moment!
They are utterly swept away by sudden terrors!
Like a dream when one awakes,
O Lord, when aroused, You will despise their form.
When my heart was embittered
And I was pierced within,
Then I was senseless and ignorant;
I was like a beast before You.
Nevertheless I am continually with You;
You have taken hold of my right hand.
With Your counsel You will guide me,
And afterward receive me to glory.
Whom have I in heaven but You?
And besides You, I desire nothing on earth.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
For, behold, those who are far from You will perish;
You have destroyed all those who are unfaithful to You.
But as for me, the nearness of God is my good;
I have made the Lord God my refuge,
That I may tell of all Your works.