Imitate, Don't Enunciate
That instinct to defend ourselves is what Peter addresses when he writes: “For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God…To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth. When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly” (1 Peter 2:19, 21-23).
No one was more maligned and misrepresented than Jesus. Yet He said nothing and did nothing to defend Himself. Despite the fact that He had to go to the cross, we would think that He would have liked to have made it clear that He was an innocent man going to an unjust death.
But He let people believe whatever they chose to believe about Him.
He set an example for us and He also reminded us that, in the end, it will be God Who sorts out who did what to whom. In the end His judgment is the only one that counts, though it rankles us to be held in contempt when that contempt isn’t deserved.
That’s called pride. And pride has a tendency to cause us to open our mouths and then stick both our feet in that mouth and say and do things that only give those who would malign us some basis for their actions.
Abraham Lincoln is quoted as saying: “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.”
If the Lord had chosen to defend Himself, He would have done so perfectly. We, on the other hand, are not so skilled. Following His example and Lincoln’s advice are both excellent ideas.