Monday, March 25, 2013

Realizing Dignity in False Accusation

           Dignity is measured by the extent of one’s ambitious possessions. In the previous blog, I stated that medical conditions seemingly rob one’s dignity; however his position as a child of the living God, seated in Christ with God in the heavenly realms enables him to realize his intrinsic dignity. He does not lose his dignity, even though Satan navigates him into the depths of suffering under the guise of lost dignity. Our tangible ambitious possessions are health, wealth, profession, education, and the likes; one can narrate several instances of abundance or absence of tangibles in varied intensities that entails a gain or loss of dignity.

False accusation is Satan’s assault on man’s character. Satan’s assault displays evil in varied degrees. This blog focuses on false accusations, for many are falsely accused and even imprisoned for uncommitted crimes.1

False accusation is a common malady in school, home and work. A child can be falsely accused for reasons such as lack of effort in poor grades (though the child put in good effort) or theft (a co-student falsely accuses the child of stealing) or indiscipline (a child unjustly punished for another’s mischief). When punishment is rendered to a sinless offender, his/her character is assaulted and dignity abandons them. This is evil.

A specific instance of false accusation is when character is the primary ambition for some. One cannot blame a Christian for possessing and cultivating this ideal, for the Holy Bible shapes the character of a disciple towards being faultless and blameless.

If a Christian’s ambition is to live a holy life, then he will endeavor to be an honest worker. Imagine an honest Christian working in an organization for 20 years with an impeccable record. A reliable source levels a false allegation based on dubious circumstantial evidence claiming he stole a large sum of money. The fact is he did not steal. His superiors mandate him to plead guilty and submit a letter of apology for which they will forgive him. On the contrary, if he continues to maintain his innocence, he has to submit his resignation and leave the organization. He chooses the latter option for he is sinless within that context.

He is sinless and his integrity intact in God’s presence, but some doubt him for they refuse to believe in his innocence. When society doubts, it slanders. This affects the person concerned rather irreparably. Hence, his dignity plunges south and suffers immeasurably. This is a great evil.

            Put yourself in the brutally heartbreaking shoes of Mr. Niranjan Kumar Mandal. Recently Mr. Mandal appealed to the Supreme Court of India pleading for the restoration of his lost dignity. He was acquitted of rape after spending four terrible years in prison. Even though he is innocent, the society continues to reject him and his family after his acquittal. He said, "After the acquittal, I had great hope of getting back to the mainstream. But I gradually found that there was nothing to be happy about...Neighbours looked with suspicion and never allowed their children to mix with my children." 2 This is an incredible burden to carry.

Mr. James Bain’s situation was even worse. In 2012, CNN reported, “James Bain is the longest-serving prisoner to be exonerated by DNA evidence, spending 35 years behind bars for a crime he didn't commit. He was convicted in 1974, at age 19, of kidnapping and raping a 9-year-old boy in Lake Wales, Florida.” 1 This is a great evil.

            In the assault of man’s character, there is an accused and an accuser. The accuser generally holds a higher moral position, and the accused is relegated to a lower position.

The person who has been raped (victim & accuser) will be offered a higher moral ground. The rape would rob this person of dignity, but the outpouring of sympathetic support from the society would, to a measure, enable the person to realize his/her intrinsic dignity. However, the accused, in this case, will lose his dignity in the eyes of the society if he is a proven sinner. This is straightforward.

On the contrary, in Mr. Bain and Mr. Mandal’s context, we see a case of two damaged dignities –the brutally raped and the falsely accused. Both these precious people are innocent within this particular context. This is a great evil.

The horrendousness of evil intensifies when we examine the situation from the perspective of the one who leveled the false accusation. False accusations are intentional and unintentional. Intentional false accusation could be due to inherent corruption that deserves punishment.

The unintentional false accusation could be a result of a mental illness. This unintentional false accuser inflicts a colossal damage without realizing that he/she is being a cause of a horrendous evil. This is indeed a sad and a horrendous situation.

Researchers attribute this false accusation to “confabulation.” 3 Confabulation is considered ‘honest lying,’ for the person has no real intent to deceive. “At its simplest, people who confabulate provide information, or act based on information, that is obviously false. These people are genuinely unaware that the information is wrong,” states an article (emphasis mine).4

On the one hand, we pity the individual suffering from a mental illness. But on the other hand, this individual inflicts damage even without realizing it. What a horrendous evil!

Looking at the big picture we see the following situations:

1.      In the case of a false accusation, the “accused” loses his dignity in the eyes of the world for an uncommitted sin – this is a great evil.

2.      In the case of a mentally ill person making false accusations, both the “accuser” and the “accused” lose their dignity in the eyes of the world – this is horrendous evil.

What should we do to deal with false accusations?

Please view the two videos of James Bain 1 & 5. His words are powerful, so I have captured much of his thoughts.

A Christian in the receiving end of a false accusation should know that this is a divine providence, not a random occurrence. Being sinless with reference to the accusation leveled, is mandatory. (Being sinful with reference to the accusation makes the accusation genuine, not false.) We may not know the reason behind our integration into this horrendous evil, but take heart that God has allowed this, so HE will deliver us at HIS time. Acceptance of the situation without anger and not rebelling against God is a healthy approach to endurance. Rebelling against God is always unfruitful.

Joseph was imprisoned because he was falsely accused by Potiphar’s wife (Genesis 39). Prior to this incident, he was persecuted by his brothers. So adversity was Joseph’s middle name. But in due time (2+ years), God delivered Joseph from his suffering and elevated him. Because God delivered Joseph, we can be assured that HE will deliver HIS people at HIS time. As Joseph trusted God during his imprisonment, may we also trust in HIM and be patient for HIS deliverance.

Outside of Jesus Christ one cannot recover and realize his dignity. But we need not think that only those who believe in Christ will realize their intrinsic dignity, for the Almighty God’s common grace sustains all men (Cf. Romans 2:14-15; Hebrews 1:2-3; Matthew 5:45). The Bible clearly states that God is kind to both the ungrateful and the wicked (Luke 6:35, NIV). I submit that this common grace of God will sustain the one who still does not believe in Christ, but whose dignity is seemingly irreparably damaged in the eyes of the world.

Mr. James Bain's Video:


Sarah Bhuyan said...

Thank you Raj for the post.

When our character is assassinated falsely, and we believe in the Sovereignty of God, it looks like we are hemmed from all sides. We cannot even try to prove our innocence, but wait.

Sometimes, when we sing the chorus, ' I can do all things ", I have to stop and think, why am I not able to let go off 'that' person who accused me and continue to accuse me. What I am saying is, ' I can, but I wont'. A good amount of 'stretching' takes place there because God put that person in my life for my good so that God can 'stretch' me. That releases me from that griping pain.

Usually people become either tender or hard depending on what our response is towards false accusation. But I want to add that it is not easy task at all. Good friends come along, if we have, and that helps.
I am reminded of Paul's dungeon talk ' come before winter '
appealing to his friends " Do your best to come to me quickly, ....," in 2 Timothy.


Sarah Bhuyan said...

May I look at the above from God's point of view-

God asks Cain, What have you done ? Listen ! Your brother's blood cries out to me from the ground.

Cain vs Abel : Evil vs righteous, faith vs unbelief

God questions the evil !!
God notices the evil !!
God hems the person who has done the evil !! which might lead to repentance.

In reality, the accuser is hemmed and not the accused.
Feeling like' hemmed' is only a feeling however bad that may be. God has the last word. The caution is, in all these see that the accused do not sin however bad the temptation is.


Raj Richard said...

I fully agree with you, Sarah. Thanks for your comments, which value-adds much...Keep on...:)