One of the things I love about Elisabeth Klein Corcoran is her willingness to write honestly about a taboo topic: brokenness in Christian marriages. Like, the kind no amount of praying or pleading or marriage seminars or counseling has seemed to make a dent in. Her new book, Survivingin a Difficult Christian Marriage, released on Valentine’s Day. Here’s a excerpt.
I’m a What?!?
Question: How do you deal with false accusations?
I answer this one with a freshness. I received a voicemail recently with an accusation that took my breath away. I immediately called my elder, who is also one of my dearest friends, and repeated it back to him word for word, through tears and fear. He said something that steadied me: “Those words were no less true of who you are than they were before you got that message. It’s just not true.”
Part of being in a difficult marriage or leaving a marriage, unfortunately, is harsh words. And I’m sad to say, usually from both sides. We both say things that we don’t mean. Or we mean them but they are too unkind and we should’ve just kept them to ourselves. When a marriage is ending especially, sometimes, it brings out the absolute worst in people. Threats are made. Accusations are doled out, and sometimes, completely made-up ones, like the one I received.
Then, there are the accusations (judgments spoken out loud) that are directed toward us by people looking at us from the outside in. I have found that the people who know me the best, who have walked the closest to me through this entire thing, have no judgment toward me (not that I’ve been sinless but they know and see my heart). It’s the people who have kept their distance that have the narrowest view of me and my actions and my words. And their views are so narrow because they don’t know who I am right now in this difficult season of my life, and they have chosen not to know.
As if living daily life in a hard marriage isn’t enough pain or as if walking out the ending of a marriage isn’t excruciating enough, we sometimes bear the brunt of allegations, some true, some totally skewed or blown out of proportion, and some blatantly false. So if this is where you find yourself today, battling the insinuations of either your spouse or someone watching your life from the sidelines, here are a few ways you can handle it.
Pray. Ask God to reveal truth to you. Maybe you have done something wrong and you need to own it and make amends for it. But if the accusation is false, I believe the Spirit will assure you of that.
Psalm 63:11 says, “All who trust in him will praise him, while liars will be silenced.” Ask him to silence the one who is speaking lies to you and spreading lies about you. You can also ask him to restore your reputation as he says in Zephaniah 3:19, “At that time I will deal with all who oppressed you. I will give them praise and honor in every land where they have suffered shame.”
Seek wise counsel. Run the accusation by someone you trust who knows you well. Choose someone who will speak truth to you and not just say what you want to hear. Be open to correction but also know that God speaks through others, so if, like my friend did for me, you hear words that refute the accusation, accept them as a gift.
Counter it with truth. If, for instance, you’re called something horrible by your husband – and I know that words pierce and can hover for years – you can ask Christ to replace it with truth. A mantra I’ve used for years, that helped me undo a thousand damaging words, is, “I’m precious and honored in your sight and you love me.”
Let it go. Sometimes, there is not one single thing you can do to disprove what the person has said to or about you. But you can choose to believe that God will set all things right, and you can choose to lay it down before Christ, taking the person off of your hook and putting him on God’s (as Beth Moore says).
Being falsely accused hurts our very souls. But we can find some assurance in II Corinthians 1:5, “For just as the sufferings of Christ flow into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.” We’re in good company.
Elisabeth Klein Corcoran is the author of Surviving in a Difficult Christian Marriage and Unraveling: Hanging Onto Faith Through the End of a Christian Marriage, along with several other books. She speaks several times a month to women’s groups, and is a member of Redbud Writers’ Guild. She lives with her children in Illinois. Visit her online athttp://www.elisabethcorcoran.com/difficult-marriage-divorce/ or https://www.facebook.com/ElisabethKleinCorcoran. She is the moderator of two private Facebook groups: one for women in difficult Christian marriages, and one for Christian women who are separated or divorced. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org if interested in joining.
Elisabeth is a proud Member of Redbud Writer’s Guild and has been featured on Moody’s In the Market with Janet Parshall, This is the Day with Nancy Turner, and Midday Connection with Anita Lustrea.