The Best Defense

1 Peter 3:16 – “Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.”

When “Ole Bull,” the great Norwegian violinist, visited the United States, he was assailed by much hostile criticism. The editor of the New York Herald, feeling the talented musician had been done a grave injustice, offered him newspaper space to reply to the charges that had been made. In broken English (which we have taken the liberty to correct) he thanked the editor, saying, “I think it is best they write against me, and I play against them!” He believed his most appropriate response to their false accusations was his music.

In a somewhat similar vein, Peter advised Christians who were being reviled to let their godly lives be their principal vindication. He reminded them that their good character and holy conduct would be the best way to show the falseness of the accusations made against them.

So today, we who know Jesus Christ need not vehemently deny the statements of our antagonists. In fact, it is usually better to endure slander quietly and patiently. The Lord Jesus gave us the supreme example of how we should meet malice. He allowed His works to speak for Him (John 10:25), and never once pleaded in His own defense during the last trial on the night before He went to the cross. Truly, “He was oppressed, and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth…” (Isa.53.7).

There’s a lot of good advice in the words of the old spiritual which declares, “You can talk about me all you please; I’ll talk about you down on my knees!” The best answer you can give those who revile you is the beauty and meekness of a godly life.