I had a peculiar experience recently.
I sat in a room with a group of other people and listened while one person told her friend something about me that was untrue.
I was a bystander, not part of the general conversation.
The person misrepresenting me knew that both she and I knew the truth of the situation she related.
The person to whom she was speaking did not know me or have any prior knowledge of the events described, nor was this person likely to have any reason to interact with me in the future.
I suppose I could have called the story-teller out in front of her friends. But why? To humble her? To salve my pride? To defend my reputation? The false report was not of such a nature as to do me any significant personal harm, although it was rather embarrassing to sit there and hear myself described in a derogatory way to someone I had just met.
All of this to say...
Later, when I described the event to my family and shared how it made me feel, I explained, "I don't like for people to believe things about me that are not true. I dislike even more for someone to promulgate untrue things about me to others!" The incident made me feel sad, hurt, angry, indignant. I wanted someone to step in and defend me. I wanted an advocate!
Thankfully, I do have an advocate. Actually, I have two.
1 John 2:1 tells us that when we sin, "we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." The word advocate in this verse - translated from the Greek word parakletos - is also used repeatedly in the book of John to refer to the Holy Spirit, "the Spirit of truth," my helper - see John 14:16, 26; John 15:26; and John 16:7.
People, there are lots of negative things that can be said about me truthfully, without having to lie or make up stories. I am a mess, plain and simple. Thankfully, when I am confronted with the muck in my heart or with the sin that "clings so closely" in my life, I don't have to make excuses or defend myself. I can own the muck (and not feel compelled to make excuses or tell stories to cover it up), because I have an advocate: Christ, who covers me with himself and who pleads my case before the Father. Jesus speaks in my defense.
And when someone (like the woman mentioned above) says things about me that are untrue, thankfully, even then, I have an advocate: I have the Holy Spirit, the "Spirit of truth." And I have Jesus, the person I desire most to please, who knows the truth about how I have thought and how I have acted. I do not have to defend myself because they speak truth on my behalf, even when others malign me.
When I am negatively misrepresented by another, I want an advocate.
Confronted with my own sin, I need an advocate.
Thankfully, I have an advocate!
And because I have an advocate, I can rest.
4 days ago