There is a lot of power in an accusation.
*A caveat, I am not talking at all about the truth here—for those instances belong in another category entirely
I am referring to:
- Priests falsely accused of abuse
- Parents falsely accused of harming their child
- Friends who lie in order to rise above the other
- Employees who spread rumors to climb the ladder
- Teachers wrongly accused of horrific crimes, when all they wanted to do was better the lives of a child
In this country, we hear about gun violence every day. The anti-gun people scream for stricter gun laws because they believe that limiting guns will solve our problems.
To me, the problem is not just the guns, because we have a far more lethal weapon and it can inflict as much damage. Our greatest weapons are our tongues.
Think of it—our tongues can create the most beautiful melodies, tell lovely stories and speak poetic love; they can also spread vicious falsehoods about another human being. Once the lie erupts, the accused is seemingly guilty without investigation.
It is so easy to lie. So easy to let hatred drip from our lips, and not hold oneself accountable. So easy to get attention with simulated wide-eyed innocence.
One word and a life is ruined. And, once a reputation is stolen—getting it back is nearly impossible.
When a claim is made, many jump on the bandwagon with abandon, and ride that train to the station. Hearing purportedly juicy news can be titillating; but, what if the claims are false? What happens then? How can we take back those icy, evil words? How can we repair a relationship, once those words, like a million feathers, blow in the wind, and settle in little niches around the world?
Granted, it is not nice to lie, but everyone does it at some time and to some degree. From Santa Claus to “Does this make me look fat?” to “I did not have sexual relations with that that woman,” lies are measured on a sort of scale. They range from “fibs” and “little white lies” to malicious, hurtful and against-the-law-sized lies called slander and perjury.
The Ninth Commandment warns against “bearing false witness against thy neighbor,” which has been interpreted over time to mean “be truthful and don’t be silent in the face of lies.”
It appears that the most common lies are intended to make others feel good, to make ourselves look better and to protect ourselves. But, I have stood in the front lines, holding the hand of a dear friend, as his life crumbles piece by piece while the ones who carry a grievous lie roam free, basking in the “knowledge” that they got a “predator” off the streets. The ones with power, the ones who know the truth remain silent—why? Perhaps, it is because it is easier to contain the lie than it is to admit they were mistaken. After all, making reparations requires work and why cast a shadow on their grand and perfect decisions?
A quick slip of the tongue followed by attention and notoriety, and a life is ruined. The puzzle of his life remains in pieces, and will most likely be so, until the thin veil between heaven and earth melts away and Jesus comes to mend his broken heart. It will be then, on the final day, that he will be given his crown and golden vestments and He will say, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant”
Perhaps on that day, Jesus will carry my friend and leave the others to themselves……….