On Handling Just and Unjust Blame
It is very easy to be misunderstood and wrongly accused. It is likely that all of us have had this experience at one time or another. Often our reaction is NOT one of meekness and humility – those qualities of Jesus’ most Sacred Heart He asks us to imitate:
Learn of me, for I am meek and humble of heart. (Matthew 11:29)
We might “argue with that person in our head,” justifying ourselves over and over again. We may feel resentful toward them. We may go back to them a hundred times to make our case, feeling indignant that we are facing such injustice.
Now, look at the injustice Christ bore. Did He respond that way? Certainly not. Humbling, isn’t it?
Let us heed the counsel that St. Francis de Sales shares so that we may gracefully handle these situations in imitation of our Savior. Following St. Gregory’s advice:
When you are justly blamed for some fault you have committed, humble yourself deeply, and confess that you deserve the blame. If the accusation be false, defend yourself quietly, denying the fact; this is but due respect for truth and your neighbor’s edification. But if after you have made your true and legitimate defense you are still accused, do not be troubled, and do not try to press your defense – you have had due respect for truth, have the same now for humility. By acting thus you will not infringe either a due care for your good name, or the affection you are bound to entertain for peace, humility, and gentleness of heart. (Introduction to the Devout Life, Part 3, Chapter 3)
While this is not always easy, and our pride gets the best of us, ask God for the grace to be at peace and share the truth tranquilly, not loud as a gong to every person willing to give us an ear about our unfortunate case. Or to draw down pity upon us. Once you make your defense, let it be with a disposition of humility and remember that no injustice goes unnoticed before the Just One.
To Jesus through Mary.
Art for this post on handling just and unjust blame: Modified The Judgement of Solomon [sic], Peter Paul Rubens, about 1617, PD-US published in the U.S. prior to January 1, 1923, author’s life plus 100 years or less, Wikimedia Commons.