Have you ever had someone spread things about you that were not true? Maybe someone started a vicious rumor at school or a letter was being passed around that said terrible things about you. Your first reaction is to defend yourself and find out who started spreading the lies. Once you find out, many things pop into your head about what actions to take. You make up a plan of action to approach the ones responsible and you plan to get ultimate revenge for their actions. Anger wells up inside as you realize your reputation has been damaged. Then just when you think it can get no worse your friends begin to believe the terrible rumors.
How did George Washington react to the cruel criticism and lies spread about him? He had the authority to do basically what he pleased in this situation. Washington had the proof in his hands and could have called in the officers and possibly punished them for their actions against him. After all these men were trying to convince the Continental Congress to replace him offering terrible lies against his character. But that’s not what he did. After reading the letter and the plot against him, the future president re-sealed the letter including an apology for accidently opening it, and he never mentioned it again. He didn’t approach the officers about it, he didn’t go around trying to dispel the rumors, nor did he try to enact any revenge. He simply let it go. How was he able to do this? Many have offered explanations for this but I have my own idea about why Washington totally ignored the rumors against him.
I’m sure ole George had a tough time dealing with the emotions that came along with people who are trying to tear down his reputation. The thought of getting revenge and protecting his character certainly crossed his mind but there was something that stopped that reaction. Deep within George Washington was an assurance about the person he was that, no lie could shake. He knew he had a calling from God, and a reliance upon God that no man’s terrible rumors could destroy. Washington looked into himself and knew the man God had made. He knew the truth about himself and he knew that truth would shine forth throughout time. And it did. What do you remember about George Washington? The things written against him in that letter have not stood the test of time. As a matter of fact, this is probably the first time you have read of that letter. The things we remember about the first president of the United States are things like leadership, bravery, integrity and perseverance. Washington knew that to waste his time worrying about what people thought about him would distract his attention to the great task before him, defeat the British and help form the greatest country known to mankind. And he did.
Before you waste your time defending your character against rumors, look deep within yourself and see the great things God has put within you. Things that will one day shine forth and possibly change the world around you. You were made special by God and no criticism or bad rumors can change that. When people spread vicious lies about you ignore them, move on and fulfill the destiny God has set before you.