I don’t know what upsets me more, being wrongly accused of doing something I didn’t do or being rightly accused of something I wish I hadn’t done. Two sides of a slimy and icky-feeling coin. Allow me to explain.
I was running errands in preparation for an influx of guests which were coming in a matter of days, and the final stop on my agenda was Lowe’s. We needed mulch to fill in planters and some flowers to spruce things up a bit. You know, the essentials. I was driving my husband’s SUV for the occasion rather than my little sedan, so I could fit more mulch in the back. I was extra careful as I parked in each space I encountered throughout the day, conscious of the way a larger vehicle handles, careful of the cars on either side. I was at the end of my energy for the day, pain and fatigue starting to bloom around me rather than flowers, when I headed back to the SUV, full cart in tow, leaning on my cane. Waiting by my vehicle was a gal in full-on Lulu Lemon yoga gear- hands on hips, clearly annoyed and impatient, vitriol flashing in her eyes. Someone had clearly spilled her latte. “Ma’am,” she barked, “would you mind telling me how this scrape got on my bumper?”
I paused, furtively glancing around to see who she was mad at. I tentatively approached the back of our Toyota and pushed the button to swing up the back tailgate.
“Ma’am,” louder and more annoyed, “would you mind telling me how this scrape got on my bumper?”
When the words were repeated, I realized she was talking to me. Yikes.
I looked over at Yoga Lady (who was clearly not in a Namaste state of mind), looked down at her driver side rear bumper, and saw immediately the aforementioned scrape, the same color paint as my car marking the beige of hers (who buys a beige car???). Yikes again.
I was so careful when I parked. I’m sure it wasn’t me. I stammered a bit, “I’m 99.9% sure it wasn’t me, I would have left a note if I had hit you, ma’am.”
I put my innocent plants into the back of my car, one at a time, under her withering gaze. She continued, her ire rising with her words, demanding: How I could be sure? Was that scrape there when I left my car? Would I stop what I was doing to look at MY front bumper to make sure I hadn’t just forgotten? I smiled. I obliged. I walked to the front of our SUV. Not a mark on it. No beige (ugh) paint. Miles between my vehicle and hers. As I came back around to report my findings, Yoga Lady seemed to get larger and more annoyed. She didn’t buy it, all my exonerating evidence.
I politely invited her to take a look at the front of my car as I continued to put my plants in the back. She huffed to the front of my car, steam rising from her ears. Nothing on my bumper.
Not a word to me, she came back to her own vehicle, her husband now joining her, further examining the wreckage. It was clear to me that, despite my response, despite the evidince, I was still guilty in her eyes. Her husband even said the vehicle that hit her would have some significant damage, and mine had none. She was still mad, and I was the convenient target for her blame. Accused. Accused but innocent. Not a great feeling.
I thought about her as I drove home with my SUV-full of plants (which are now happily at home in their beds and containers.) And I though of the Accuser who actually has the evidence to back it up. Icky-feeling.
I know I’ve blown it a million times in my life, a million ways. And I am daily grateful for God’s forgiveness – daily in need of it – but when He forgives, He forgets. My sins are remembered no more. As far as the east is from the west. In the bottom of the ocean. He won’t bring it up again.
BUT. There is one who does. And he knows just what to remind me of, and just when to do it.
He hisses in my ear “remember who you used to be, no one will take you seriously. remember that habit. remember when you talked smack about her behind her back. remember when you totally lost your temper with your daughter about scissors (sadly a true story). remember you are broken and no one wants to hear from a broken voice.” Harder to take because they used to be true. And I wish I could forget. Satan, the Accuser, has a bag of tricks, but they’re old tricks.
No one wants to be accused, whether the allegations are true or false. Both leave me feeling unsettled, the Yoga Lady and the Accuser. Both remind me of how imperfect I really am, how broken and prone to fail, but one is wrong and the other is defeated.
Revelation 12:10b-11 gives us hope: “For the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, he accuses them day and night before our God. They have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony;”
Satan, that old liar, won’t win. He will be thrown out and defeated through the blood of the Lamb, Jesus’ great sacrifice for us, and the bold word of their witness, the brothers (fellow believers) who speak up for us.
Let that truth seep into your heart today. The accuser can say whatever he wants. But he is defeated by our God. And you are redeemed by our God. Regardless of what Yoga Lady says.