The Biblical View of Investigating Accusations

(Photo by Adi Goldstein on Unsplash)

With the Judge Brett Kavanaugh hearings currently happening, there is now a focus related to the process of determining truth when there is a serious allegation against another person.

Although—short of verifying something empirically with DNA (when there is a physical assault without another witness to verify said assault)—the presentation of an uncorroborated accusation should never be the sole basis for determining the truth in an investigation.

The fact of the matter is, the Bible clearly teaches (see 2 Cor. 13:1) that every matter has to be established with the testimony of two to three witnesses (this refers to each particular instance, not merely accusations regarding an accusation related to an unethical pattern of behavior).

Furthermore, as we read the whole of Scripture, we see that even following the biblical procedure (two to three witnesses for each particular instance) is not foolproof since, in many instances, the witnesses themselves are not legitimate because they have a biased connection to a third party that possibly taints their motives, causing them to lie.

This is why we have an important (but often overlooked) ninth commandment as one of the Ten Commandments in Scripture (as shown in Exodus 20), "you shall not bear false witness against your neighbor" (Ex. 20:16).

Most people think this commandment is only referring to the forbidding of lying to somebody, but its meaning goes much deeper. It is referring to a character assassination in the context of a judicial process, or in our case, a Senate committee hearing or a court of law.

Bearing false witness has to do with lying about a person in order to gain an advantage either for oneself or a particular entity or association that has a vested interest in directing official allegations against a particular person (in this case it can be applied to a particular political party of the USA).

As we can see in the biblical narrative, bearing false witness against a person has been used as a demonic strategy to execute or destroy the life of several good people.

We see an example of the use of witnesses violating the ninth commandment in 1 Kings 21, when Queen Jezebel used her political power to prop up false witnesses to say that Naboth blasphemed God, so he could be executed by the royal court, enabling King Ahab to steal his vineyard.

Of course, in the New Testament, we see false witnesses claiming Jesus spoke against the temple, resulting in His crucifixion, as well as the first martyr of the church, Stephen, who was stoned to death based on false accusations related to his supposed violation of blasphemy laws (see Matt. 26:60-62 and Acts 6:11-7:54).

Consequently, these supposed witnesses—even though they corroborated each other's story—were not legitimate because they violated the ninth commandment. Using these biblical examples demonstrates the need for everybody to measure the integrity, life and track record of the person being accused as well as investigating the accusers to see if they have a major conflict of interest—an axe to grind with the one accused—or are being pressured or paid off by a political party or an associate entity.

Hence, if there proves to be a suspicious association between the witnesses lodging the accusations and a particular party, then everyone needs to slow down and attempt to trace the real roots of the accusation before believing words that contradict the testimony of the person accused.

The fact of the matter is, Satan is called the "accuser of the brethren" who accuses people day and night before God (see Rev. 12:10-12), which illustrates how effective false accusations are since. Satan will only utilize and even be named after something that gives him the ability to advance his evil cause (even the word "devil" means "deceiver," which is why Jesus called the devil the father of lies who cannot abide in the truth—see John 8:40-44).

(I also find it interesting that, when contrasting the character and ministry of the devil and Jesus, the Bible refers to Satan as the accuser of the brethren; and Jesus is called our advocate who ever lives to make intersession for His people (1 John 2:1; Heb. 7:25).

Of course, as a pastor since 1984, I have also personally known and ministered to numerous victims of sexual abuse and also know that many abusers lie and deny their horrific atrocities, so they can continue to prey on others.

I also know that many—if not most of the abused — are afraid to say something because of fear of retaliation and or shame, which is why we need to do our best to corroborate their stories and give victims an empathetic, listening ear so they have a safe place for restoration and healing.

That being said, this doesn't negate the fact that many good people lose everything (family, career and even their life) because of false accusations. This is why it behooves the American people not to merely react emotionally but to rationally apply the biblical principles stated in this article to enhance the likelihood of coming to a truthful conclusion.

I end with a serious warning.

I celebrate the #MeToo movement since I believe many untold millions of people have been victims of sexual harassment and abuse. (I have always been a vocal advocate for women and have always endeavored to protect the women in my circle of influence.)

However, we also have to avoid the extremes in this movement when people immediately believe the accusations of a person who claim abuse without following due process.

If our society immediately convicts and destroys the career of a person in the court of public opinion—or allows one political party to destroy a person while violating all reasonable protocols of due process—then society is setting a dangerous precedent that will destroy the lives and reputations of countless innocent people in the coming years.

If the nomination of Judge Kavanaugh is going to be denied, let it be because the FBI and or the Senate have concluded that there is sufficient corroborating evidence to believe his accusers. If not, he should be confirmed, based on his incontrovertible credentials.

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