Have you ever been seriously misunderstood?
Has someone actively decided not to hear you out? Drawn up a wide range of assumptions about you? Jumped to conclusions on your character?
Has just got you wrong?
Have you ever been unfairly labelled arrogant, stupid, incompetent or proud? Misunderstanding has to be one of the most frustrating things in life.
In these situations, relationships can be strained, friendships ruined, and grace can easily be exchanged for anger, bitterness, resentment, and an unhealthy impatience to ‘sort it out’, or perhaps more aptly ‘sort them out’.
False accusation may be another common offshoot from the comprehensive discipline of misunderstanding.
It is a horrid thing when one is accused of dark motives which we ourselves know to be fully illusory; when we know our intention to be good, but are ridiculed for being sinful.
Thus are we desperately trying to close the gap between our decent heart motives and the projected misunderstanding of a parent, a leader, a spouse, or a friend? To convince an adversary of our intentions? This is exhausting and rarely successful if you are up against someone who is insecure/fearful/broken/angry.
The key root questions: Who is our advocate? Who is for us? Who knows us?
God. We must remember that under His dominion is complete understanding, infinite glory, endless mercies, exquisite kindness, and justice perfected.
In His Son is grace abounding, forgiveness for all our sin (including your false accuser), and life eternal.
Indeed, who was the most misunderstood human being ever to walk the planet? Jesus. The Son of God. The purest of heart. The Saviour of the world. We can be absolutely certain that there was no chasm between His actions and His motives - He had nothing to prove, no earthly authority did He desire to manipulate, and to no sin did He bow the knee. He was free from pride, 100% humble.
And yet, look at the heinous ridicule He faced: from the religious, from the insecure, from His own people. Accused of so much, guilty of nothing.
In circumstances where we are misunderstood, regardless of how serious, we need to turn to Jesus for help. Not only should we recognise Jesus as our advocate in these situations (Rom 8:31), but we need to pray for a covering of His grace and peace in our responses. Our new generation of young leaders desperately need to learn how to respond to antagonists by showing nothing but His grace – and what a good and Godly and excruciatingly difficult thing this is to do when you’ve been pushed around and/or had spears thrown in your direction. We must let the Holy Spirit ‘renew our minds’, so that we can effectively witness the grace of God when facing personal injustice.
‘God uses the reaction of your life to your circumstances to fulfil His purpose, as long as you continue “walk in the light as He is in the light” (1 John 1:7). - Oswald Chambers
Stay gracious, stay thankful. Always appropriate the sheer cost of the grace that the Lord Jesus has shown to you - that we are all guilty but declared justified and clean by his blood - keep this at the forefront of your heart and mind as you pray for wisdom. Humble yourself before God, and seek extensive counsel from elders. Show relentless, passionate advocacy for those under oppression, and then praise God and count it as a privilege to suffer for Jesus’ mighty name.
Will Maule is a failed tennis coach, who studied International Relations & Politics at University, and has since spent time working as an inner-city Student Pastor, a "songwriter" and at a doctors surgery. He is a wannabe theologian with dreams of becoming a human rights lawyer. He lives with his wife in the south by the sea.