What to do when we are falsely accused

February 9, 2022 • 2 min

From The Spirit of St. Francis de Sales, page 164
By His friend, Jean Pierre Camus, Bishop of Belley

UPON THE VIRTUES WE SHOULD PRACTISE WHEN CALUMNIATED.

Blessed Francis was once asked if we ought not to oppose calumny with the weapons of truth, and if it was not as much our duty to keep, for God’s sake, our good name, as our bodily strength. He answered that on such occasions many virtues were called into exercise, each claiming precedence over the other.

The first is truth to which the love of God and of ourselves in God, compels us to bear testimony. Nevertheless that testimony has to be calm, gentle, kindly, given without irritation or vehemence, and with no anxiety about consequences. Our Saviour, when He was accused of having a devil, answered quite simply: “I have not a devil.” [John viii. 49.]

If you should be blamed for any scandalous fault, of which, however, you know you are not guilty, say candidly and quietly that, by the grace of God, you are innocent of such a sin. But, if you are not believed, humility now claims her right and bids you say that you have indeed many greater faults unknown to the world, that you are in every way miserable and that if God did not sustain you in your weakness, you would commit far greater crimes than you are accused of.

This sort of humility is in no way prejudicial to truth, for was it not from the depths of true humility that David cried out saying, that if God had not aided him his soul would have dwelt in hell. [Psalm xciii. 17.]

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