Many years ago I was wrongly accused of speaking inappropriately to someone. I was horrified, because the accusation was the exact opposite of my character. I didn’t personally know the colleague who’d accused me, but she had overheard a conversation and wrongly believed I’d been involved.
At first I felt helpless to correct this “he said/she said” scenario. Then I remembered that if one wants to resolve problems quickly, the Bible offers helpful insights. So I turned to chapter 18 in the book of Matthew, which includes some ideas relating to conflict resolution. For example, in verse 15, Christ Jesus says: “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother” (English Standard Version).
That phrase “between you and him alone” caught my eye. As I considered the spirit of Jesus’ advice, I recognized that refusing to recriminate and speaking directly with the accuser instead of making a bigger deal out of the situation by discussing it with coworkers would require great self-discipline, especially because my feelings were hurt. And I realized I didn’t want my ego to cloud my judgment.
So I prayed to God with a listening heart. I asked Him to show me the innate innocence and goodness of His children, which includes all of us. I sought the Christ perspective – that is, the true idea of God and His creation – that would bring the clarity and calm needed to uncover the lie and correct it.
Jesus taught another lesson on the importance of childlike humility in that same chapter of Matthew (see verses 1-5). It begins with Jesus’ disciples asking, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” The kingdom of heaven can be read as the kingdom of God, of divine Truth, of righteousness, of good. As the account continues, Jesus calls a little child to him and says to the disciples: “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me” (ESV).
I saw this as a call to know myself as God’s child, as spiritual and strong and pure and innocent and good, the way God makes all His children. And the example of Jesus shows us we need to extend this healing perspective to include every person in our path, including those we may have a problem with. Until we see ourselves and others as God’s good children, we will be missing out on something. But when we strive to see the spiritual innocence of others and ourselves as the image of God, divine good, suddenly we realize that everyone is on the same team.
This perspective doesn’t excuse people from righting their wrongs. Rather, it smooths the path for whatever steps can lead to righting wrongs quickly, lovingly, with forgiveness, and without a big fuss.
In my case, as I prayed with these ideas, the feelings of self-justification and anger dissolved into a sense of calm. I was able to quietly speak with the accuser one-on-one, the misidentification was uncovered, and the person who had actually made the inappropriate comments was identified and duly corrected. The case was kindly and harmoniously resolved for everyone involved.
Prayer that includes everyone in a spiritual view of our nature as God’s children opens the way for the healing Christ to redeem a situation so that wrongs are redressed. Even one person’s humble, heartfelt prayer can make the difference in accomplishing this.