Have you ever been falsely accused? Or more specifically, have you ever been falsely accused of being a liar? What do you do in those tense situations?
No one has ever so vehemently accused me of lying as one woman did last week.
I was driving home from work when I witnessed a car accident. It wasn’t a huge crash, just a fender bender, but still, I was a witness. The law obligated me to stay, so I turned around.
As I approached the scene, I saw the drivers of the two cars. A young lady in a bright pink shirt held her insurance information as she walked hesitantly toward a scowling older woman.
I made sure both ladies were OK and helped the older woman explain to the police dispatcher where we were. I felt comfortable with how the incident was progressing.
Then came the shock of the night.
The older woman accused me of being a friend of the younger lady. She thought I was lying when I said I saw the collision and came back to give my statement to the police.
“No, you’re weren’t there!” the older lady yelled. “You’re lying! This is none of your business! You’re her friend! She called you and that’s why you’re here! Stop lying or the police will lock you up in jail! Just obey the law!”
All the yelling. All the anger. All the accusations—and none of them were true.
I stared at her blankly for a moment. I thought, Are you serious? I managed to say, “Ma’am, I’m sorry, but that’s not true. I was behind the car that stopped—”
“Yes it is! You’re a liar, and the police are going to find out when they check her phone! If you lie to the police, you’re going to jail!”
“OK, well, we don’t have to talk about this anymore.” I took a deep breath. “Let’s wait for the police and let them sort this out. It will be all right. I’ll be over there by my car.”
My mind raced. How could she accuse me of lying? I was right there when it happened! And why is she mad anyway? I’m not even going to tell the police that it’s her fault. I’m telling the police exactly what I saw, which would actually implicate the younger lady!
Why People Make False Accusations
The next morning, I had an “a-ha” moment. I realized why the older lady thought I was lying.
- It took me five minutes to turn around and return to the scene of the accident. After the crash, I called my dad to see if I should turn around. He said I should, so I did. The older lady thought I took five minutes to get there because the young lady called me to come.
- The older lady didn’t speak English very well and couldn’t hear what I was saying to the young lady. She saw us talking and assumed we were friends. The truth was, the young lady had never been in an accident before and was asking me what she should do.
- I stood near the young lady more often because she needed more help. I didn’t stay and talk with the older lady as much because she was angry and didn’t want to talk to me. She interpreted my nearness to young lady as me being her lying accomplice.
Add to all these pieces of “evidence” the older lady’s raging emotions, and it’s clear why she thought I was lying. For her, these three points added up to one blaring conclusion: I was the young lady’s friend and I was lying about being an unaffiliated witness.
But that “definitive conclusion” wasn’t accurate. She was wrong.
Even though all the evidence the older lady saw pointed to me lying, the truth is that all those seemingly irrefutable points had explanations—explanations she couldn’t see and wasn’t willing to let me explain.
So what should I have done—yell and scream and defend my honor?
No. I could only speak kindly, walk away and wait for the police to arrive so I could give my statement and leave.
I felt sorry for the older lady; I wasn’t against her. To the contrary, the Holy Spirit gave me a desire to help her. But she wanted none of my compassion or assistance.
How to Respond in the Midst of False Accusations
When I put my discomfort and indignation aside, I gained several takeaways from the ordeal.
1. If you think someone is lying to you, don’t accuse them of being a liar while your emotions are boiling. Wait until you are calm and can trust yourself not to yell or say hurtful, unnecessary words.
Slinging caustic accusations doesn’t mean you’re right—and it certainly doesn’t advance your cause. If anything, your stream of invective makes you look foolish to those watching.
2. Remember that the evidence you see may have explanations you haven’t considered. Even if it seems as though there is no way this person isn’t lying, the truth is, they just might be telling the truth.
You don’t have a 360-degree perspective on the issue. Wait. Listen. Think.
3. If someone has falsely accused you of lying, don’t react to their rage. Jesus experienced false accusations His whole life. John 3:32 says this about Jesus: “He bears witness of what He has seen and heard, yet no one receives His testimony” (MEV).
Many did not believe Jesus’ testimony of truth. But He refused to let their disbelief and their opposition stop Him from speaking what was right. He couldn’t—and wouldn’t—deny the truth.
4. Most importantly, forgive.
Misunderstandings and false accusations have torn close relationships to shreds. I’ve seen it happen time after time. That brokenness is what Satan wants. He indulges himself in division like a hideous vampire does blood.
What does God want?
“Then Peter came up to (Jesus) and said, ‘Lord, how often shall I forgive my brother who sins against me? Up to seven times?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I do not say to you up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven’” (Matt 18:21-22).
False accusations tremble in the face of forgiveness.
Jenny Rose Curtis is a homeschool grad. In 2014, she graduated from Stetson University with majors in Spanish and Communications. She works at Charisma Media as a copy editor and co-host of the “Charisma News” and “SpiritLed Woman” podcasts.