Like a fluttering sparrow or a darting swallow, an undeserved curse does not come to rest. Proverbs 26, verse 2.
Awhile back, I was in a dying friendship. There were many reasons why it was dying, why it couldn’t succeed, even why it wasn’t Godly or right. In the process of struggling while it was dying, accusations flew around, most of which were leveled at me by my friend. Some of those accusations were true; it’s best to never run from the truth but, instead, to admit it. Some of those accusations, however, were false.
Now, I’ve done enough wrong things in my life, enough things below contempt, beneath faithfulness, and beside the point that my list of sins is long and storied. Were it not for faith in Christ, I’d be terrified of what would have been ahead of me soon in the afterworld. I’ve done enough wrongs to fill a shelf full of novels, but I really don’t appreciate and don’t deserve to be accused of things I didn’t do. I’ve told enough lies, I’ve deceived enough people, I’ve lived my life selfishly and hurtfully. I don’t need to be accused of doing those things when I know and can prove I didn’t.
If you’ve been a scoundrel, well, you shouldn’t be surprised if people immediately think you’re responsible when things happen; it goes with the territory. That doesn’t make it right; it just establishes that it’s a fact of life. It’s the reputation of a scoundrel. Even scoundrels don’t deserve to have falsehoods draped onto them, though. Lies speak for themselves; new ones need not speak for you just because you’ve told others in the past.
As time moves me away from the argument, I see two things at play in my life, both of them gifts from God. The first is learning the difference between guilt and conviction. He takes away the guilt but leaves the conviction for the bad things I have done. This allows learning and redemption to take hold, enabling me to be better for Him because of it. This also allows me the conviction to stand up and say “that’s not me” when I’m falsely accused. From the lives they lead now, you might never guess that many fine, upstanding people you know were all fundamentally misguided sinners.
The second thing I see is that the proverb for today is so true. False accusations have little basis. They can look like they are true, but that doesn’t make them true. There can be great similarities between them and what’s real, but that doesn’t make them real. When examined under the magnifying glass of truth, they don’t hold up. You don’t need Atticus Finch to see through the sham of them: they simply fall apart on their own. Like a flitting bird, they flutter about trying to find a place to land, something to stick to; like a fluttering sparrow, they are easily blown around by the winds of life.
Some people want to look for the first thing to believe in. Some people want to transfer their shame, blame, and game to you, especially if they know you’re struggling with those same things. Some people want to just feel better about themselves, and some people are hurting and looking for some kind of answer, some solution to stop the big and small hurts that plague us every day. All people need redemption from these things, and it’s up to you and me to take the radical idea of being forgiven and loved to these people everywhere. What they do with it isn’t up to us: we are simply supposed to go. Whether it’s on the streets, in your living room, here on a blog, or riding the subway, we are supposed to go and be open to talking about these things so that everyone might understand what the Savior’s forgiveness really means. Most people genuinely want to love and be loved. All of us are, but we don’t let ourselves see it.
That’s everyone including my former friend. I’m no longer friends with the person, and don’t know what they are doing now. The life they led was one that I couldn’t reconcile to my own, and the more I really got to know them, the more I found I couldn’t be friends with them. They ended the friendship, but I was blessed from it. I suppose that sounds strange to say, but it’s true because good comes from it. A friend of mine said last week, “time doesn’t heal hearts. Jesus heals hearts.” I agree one hundred percent. All I can do is hope and pray they are well and blessed too. We’ve shared this message before, my former friend and I, so I know it’s on their heart as well. The best I can do is pray and hope they are well, and that the troubles of this world fly around like a fluttering sparrow, but that they land someplace else instead of on them.