Tag Archives: Accusation

Time Reveals Truth

Wendy and me in front of a portrait of H.P. Scholte.
Wendy and me in front of a portrait of H.P. Scholte.

Smooth words may hide a wicked heart,
just as a pretty glaze covers a clay pot
Proverbs 26:23 (NLT)

This past week I portrayed one of our town’s founders, H.P. Scholte, in a one act play at our local Opera House. In preparation for portraying the man (whom I’ve now played in three separate productions) I’ve done plenty of research into his past and his story. Scholte was a fascinating man. The son of a wealthy industrialist in Holland, he began as an art student but soon gave up his paintbrush for the pulpit. He was a brilliant scholar, a gifted preacher, and a charismatic leader. Having run afoul of the state church of the Netherlands (for which he was imprisoned multiple times), Scholte convinced nearly 800 of his followers to invest their life savings with him, accompany him on a perilous journey to the American frontier and build an entire town where there was nothing but prairie grass.

As I read accounts and letters of his followers to the new world, two very different pictures emerge. Many saw Scholte as a charlatan and scam-artist. They were convinced that he took advantage of his followers, used their money for his personal gain and lied to them about the prosperity of American before leading them to hell on earth. Others never wavered in their trust of Scholte and his vision. They followed him faithfully. I have always been amazed at the two very different men described by Scholte’s followers. It begs the question: Was he a vessel of God, or was he a glazed pot described in the proverb above? I have been so captivated by the matter that I even wrote my own one act play that exploring the question.

Fast forward 160 years. Our community gathers each year to celebrate its heritage and tens of thousands of people gather from around the world to experience it. Look around and you will find a prosperous small town with a thriving economy, a quality educational system and a deep appreciation for the values of family and faith. Scholte’s vision and commitment have been realized. He proved to be a useful vessel who accomplished much for which countless residents owe their thanks through many generations. Scholte wasn’t perfect, to be sure, but time and reality have proven that he wasn’t and empty, glazed crack-pot.

I look back over the years and think of the occasional times that I have been accused of things. Anyone in any position of leadership will experience this. Many have looked at me and accused me of being a glazed pot. It’s never fun when your motives and character are questioned and maligned. In these times I think about people like Scholte. I can’t control what others think and say. I can’t change the perception of others. I can only continue to follow the path and do my best each day to live out the course God has laid for me.

Time reveals truth.

[An index of all Tom’s chapter-a-day posts covering every book and chapter]


Chapter-a-Day Matthew 27

Antonio Ciseri's depiction of Pontius Pilate p...
Image via Wikipedia

But when the accusations rained down hot and heavy from the high priests and religious leaders, he said nothing. Pilate asked him, “Do you hear that long list of accusations? Aren’t you going to say something?” Jesus kept silence—not a word from his mouth. The governor was impressed, really impressed. Matthew 27:14 (MSG)

Along stretches of the journey, I’ve been accused of different things. From silly to mildly slanderous, I’ve been charged in the court of public opinion with things of which I was innocent. To be honest, some times the charges were fabrications made because of things I actually had done. I’ve made my share of mistakes. Still, it’s never easy to sense whispers behind your back when you know that what is being said is completely untrue.

There is a small toy turtle that sits on a shelf in our house. It was acquired during one particular rough stretch and it became an enduring word picture for pressing on in such times. The quiet turtle never makes a fuss. He guards his heart inside a tough shell and keeps making his way in small incremental movements forward. Like the turtle in the old fable, I am reminded by the little turtle on the shelf that  “slow and steady wins the race.”

I was reminded by Jesus’ response to His accusers in today’s chapter. Of anyone ever accused in all of history, Jesus had more reason to cry “foul” than anyone else. Despite the mocking, jeering, and insults he quietly endured. Turning the other cheek is not an act of passivity, but a conscious act of the will which requires strength of character.

Jesus trials and death sentence is the ultimate example of how fickle the court of public opinion can be. It blows hither and thither with any number of prevailing winds which have little to do with truth or fairness. Sometimes, the best way to respond is by silently moving forward step-by-step and day-by-day and allowing time to reveal what is ultimately true.

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