When I was in the fifth grade, my new elementary school principal asked me if I knew the Golden Rule. I was new to the school, and my parents and I met her in her office. I said, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” My parents were so proud, even though I didn’t live by the rule, especially toward my little brothers.
Since then I’ve learned that not only did Jesus teach what we call The Golden Rule in the Sermon on the Mount (Luke 6:31), but the Lord actually taught some things in the same discourse that were even harder pills to swallow: “Love your enemies; do good to those who hate you” (6:27); “Bless those who curse you; pray for those who mistreat you” (6:28); “If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to them the other also” (6:29).
As I grew up I learned most people don’t live by The Golden Rule. Some people, and yes even fellow Christians, will actually blame you for things they did, mistakes or poor decisions they made, and outcomes that were their responsibilities.
And no person in any environment is safe from being thrown under the bus. You’re not even immune if you are fortunate enough to serve in a local church. And a special warning to people pleasers. You are especially vulnerable to having a “cover yourself” mentality, even if it means someone else takes the blame.
So when another person throws you under the bus, I hope you’ll take the high road, where there usually isn’t much traffic. Instead of repaying evil for evil, please allow me to suggest the following actions:
Forgive the other person
This comes straight from the top. Jesus commanded it. Christians don’t have a choice when it comes to forgiving others. Please remember God has forgiven you and me; and we offended Him way more than others will ever offend us.
Don’t look for payback.
Jesus forbade his followers to seek revenge. When you seek vengeance, it’s as if you drink a bottle of poison and expect the other person to die. Bitterness will eat you up on the inside, and probably not affect the other person at all.
Be careful not to give the person your trust again before it’s wise to do so.
Forgiveness and trust are not the same thing, and there are different levels of trust. If someone stabs you in the back, you can choose to forgive him immediately; but it’s probably not wise to trust him completely right away. Trust is earned. No one is automatically entitled to it.
Resist the temptation to tell everyone you know.
We should always tell the truth, especially when asked, but if you attempt too much to justify your actions, you’ll seem petty. The truth usually comes out. A person who blames others will do it again and again. Unwillingness to accept responsibility is a character flaw. People will eventually understand the reality of what’s going on.
Be a person who accepts responsibility for your actions.
Be honest. Remain humble. Remember our ultimate goal is not that others praise us, but that our live honors the Lord and that people praise Him by what we say and do. When you accept responsibility for your actions, others will probably respect you more, not less, for your honesty, humility, and transparency.
But what if the truth never comes out?
O.K., so what if the truth never comes out? What if people never know that you didn’t do it, blow it, say it, or decide it? What if people believe the lie until Jesus comes back? Is it really alright that the other person gets away with it?
Well, first of all, nobody gets away with anything. God is our ultimate Judge and Blesser, and He absolutely knows the truth. Secondly we will all give an account of our words and actions. “So then each one of us will give an account of himself to God” (Rom. 14:12).
And if the offense is in the form of persecution because you are follower of Christ, remember you’re in good company. Jesus said,
“Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matt. 5:11-12).
Most importantly, Jesus took the blame for all those who’ve ever been saved, and for everyone who ever will be. He was sinless and innocent, yet he willingly went to the cross and was tortured and died so that we would be forgiven. That’s what God’s love looks like. His innocence was transferred to us and our guilt was placed on him.
P. S.– If you’re a recovering people-pleaser please feel free to download the free document at the top right-hand corner of this page. When you subscribe to these posts the document is yours. I’ll send you a link, so please watch your inbox.