Dena Johnson MartinDena Johnson is a former single mom to three amazing kids: Blake, Cole, and Cassie and wife to her high school friend, Roy. She strives to follow Christ each day and to lead her children to do the same. She delights in taking the every day experiences of life and turning them into biblical lessons for her children. Dena's daily prayer is simple: Lord, my life is yours. Live through me. Love through me. Parent through me. Let me decrease that you might increase. Dena is the founder of Dena Johnson Ministries, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping people find beauty through the brokenness of this life. Her heart's desire is to use her own pain to point others to the power of God who redeems every hurt, every pain. You can contact Dena at Dena@denajohnson.com. You can also find her blog at Dena Johnson Ministries.
- 2018 Aug 02
“Hello. I know you don’t know me but a few years ago, I met (your ex-husband) on a dating site….He mentioned the divorce on that first date but didn’t give much details. We continued to go out and I would kind of press him on the issue. He made it sound like you were the one who had cheated and he wanted to make it work anyway but it just didn’t after that….”
I received this message from a complete stranger recently. I had heard rumors of how I just woke up one day and didn’t love him anymore. I had an employer contact me with a letter recommending they fire me for the two affairs I had, for the two marriages I destroyed.
I always knew there were false accusations, but this message really confirmed it.
For all those years, he twisted reality and made me look like the bad guy to anyone who would listen. He did everything he could to ruin me, to ruin my reputation.
Ironically, I have stacks of explicit emails between him and his former lover. I have copies of his online dating profile and messages between him and women on that dating website. I have divorce papers that are public record clearly stating our divorce was granted on the basis of his infidelity…a fact he never disputed and was only allowed because of the incredible amount of evidence I had.
God has always been so faithful to bring the truth to light, to let my righteousness shine like the dawn and the justice of my cause like the noonday sun (Psalm 37:6).
God has always gone before me and fought for me as I sought to be still (Exodus 14:14).
God has always heard my pleas, answered my prayers to protect my reputation.
God has always been my Defender.
Throughout the years, I’ve seen God bring just the right person along, the one who knew the full story. I’ve seen him open the eyes of the blind, shedding light on the truth.
And this situation was no different. You see, as only God could do, He orchestrated events to bring this woman across my blog. I’m certain it was difficult to discern who was telling the truth, but she shared with me there was a check in her spirit, something wasn’t setting right. But it was several months into their dating relationship when she found out he was also dating someone else.
Yes, God brought truth to light.
So often, I hear people lament the slander, the false accusations thrown at them in the midst of the devastation known as divorce. People ask all the time how they should handle the lies, how they should defend themselves and their reputations.
While there is a time and place to defend ourselves, I’ve found God is the best Defender. I’ve learned over the years it is much better to let Him handle the accuser. He knows the truth. He knows not only my actions—both good and bad—but also my heart. He knows my desires, the righteousness I long to walk in. He knows and is able to bring the truth to light in ways only He can.
Have you walked this path? Have you been accused of wrongdoings of which you are completely innocent? Maybe it’s not even a divorce. Maybe you just got caught up in some unrelated situation, accused of an act you didn’t do.
Whatever the circumstances, here’s a few thoughts for when you are falsely accused.
Live above the level of reproach. When we live above the level of reproach, false accusations don’t stick. If we are choosing righteousness and holiness, our reputation goes before us, protecting us. We are known by our goodness, our righteousness, and others will take the accusations lightly.
But when we compromise…
I spent over a year fighting for my marriage after I found out about his affair. When I finally realized he had chosen to continue his affair, I was free. I felt God release me from the bondage of a sick, dysfunctional marriage. However, I was also terrified. I found myself immediately jumping into a relationship with a man whose divorce had just been finalized. My husband and I were separated. He had moved out of our home. The divorce was filed but not finalized in the court of law, but it had been over for a long time in my eyes and in God’s eyes.
Looking back, I realize I was simply looking for love, for security, for someone to care for me in the midst of my pain. But at the time, I thought I was healed and ready to move forward. My choice to move forward so quickly became the foundation for the accusations that still haunt me nearly ten years later.
If I had it all to do over again, I would have taken time to heal. I would have chosen to live above the level of reproach, to make sure my marriage was legally ended before I jumped into any type of relationship. I would have done things differently. But, I learned you simply don’t know what you will do, how you will respond in the midst of your pain.
Live your life in such a way there can be no accusations made against you. It’s the best protection against false accusations.
Pray for God to bring truth to light. I discovered one of my favorite passages during the early days of false accusations.
Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him, and he will help you. He will make your innocence radiate like the dawn, and the justice of your cause will shine like the noonday sun. Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act. Psalm 37:5-7
I have prayed these verses so many times in the last decade. I have cried out for God to let my righteousness shine like the dawn and the justice of my cause like the noonday sun repeatedly. I have shared with others the same plea, the same prayer.
And repeatedly, I’ve seen God bring the truth to light. Deeds done in darkness cannot hide. He always sheds His light of truth on them, exposing all around to the life-giving light.
Tell your story. There are people out there today who believe I was the cause of our divorce, that I was the one who had the affair. Most of these people I don’t know, maybe I have never met. They are people he met and associated with after our divorce. Ultimately, let them believe what they want. I know the One who knows the full story, and I know I stand before Him, washed in the blood of His Son, righteous and clean before Him.
But those who have known me for years? Those who knew us for the 17 years of our marriage? Those who cared enough to find out the truth of the situation?
They all support me fully.
I have learned the importance of telling our stories, of sharing the gut-wrenching pain with honesty and authenticity. I can’t overemphasize the importance of letting others know our pain and the faithfulness of our Father to bring beauty out of that same brokenness. Others see the pain, the faith, the hope, the endurance and know only one who has walked through the fire can possibly use their pain as an encouragement to others.
We must learn to tell our stories. We must learn to tell our stories for the right reasons—to comfort others with the comfort we have received, to point a lost and dying world to the One who saves. We must learn to tell our stories, stories of God’s faithfulness, without tearing others down.
When I started writing, I often struggled to focus on my life, on what God was doing to carry me through the pain. I sometimes found myself going down a path of talking about my ex-husband, about all the ways he had failed me. I would stop, delete everything, and start over. As I grew, as I healed, as I saw God’s goodness in my pain, as forgiveness took hold and removed the roots of bitterness, it became easier to tell my story with just the facts about him. My story has never been told about him; it has always been told as an encouragement to those walking through similar pain. And God has been faithful to use my pain for others, to answer my prayer that my pain might not be in vain.
False accusation hurt. But we can trust our Father to be our Defender, to bring truth to light in His time. If you are in the midst of lies being spread about you, hold your head high. Remember you live for One, the One who knows your heart and every detail of the truth. He will care for you, defend you, and make sure you come through.