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When Jesus was being questioned by Herod, and the chief priests and elders, he refused to say anything (Luke 23:8-9Matthew 27:11-14 ). There is a time and a place when silence most certainly is golden. However, there is also a time and a place when it is not.

Jesus knew when to speak out.  Sure, we are not Jesus, and so we are probably going to make plenty of mistakes in terms of speaking out when it is probably wiser to say nothing (or say less).  We will never get exactly the best words and there will be times when we say too little when we should have said more. Just like the rest of the world, we're fallible human beings: people who do not have the full measure of God's spirit (as Jesus did), which means that we will make mistakes.

However, in general, I believe we have a responsibility to speak the truth wherever possible, and this includes trying to clear our name when we have been falsely accused.  While we are instructed not to hit back physically, we have been given a spiritual weapon, which is the truth, and we are instructed to use that weapon wisely.

We have never kidnapped anyone. We are not The Family. We are not killers for Christ. However, this has not stopped people from repeatedly trying to insinuate, or outright accuse us of such. And when this happens, what do we do? Do we just roll over, accept the lies and say nothing? Or, do we try to defend ourselves? 

People sometimes accuse us of being "overly defensive" or of "not representing ourselves well", and I am sure there is plenty of room for improvement in both regards. However, the problem I have with these kinds of criticisms is that they are usually thrown at us by people who have little or no authority to make them. It is only when you are directly in the firing line, that you find out what you're really made of. It would be interesting to see what the same people would do if they were accused of kidnapping! 

Furthermore, if we choose to say and do nothing when someone falsely accuses us (which we have done at times), people say that this is proof of our guilt. If we choose to stand up and refute the lies, people accuse us of being too defensive. Can you see the catch-22 we are caught in?

A poster on our forum recently accused us of being "naive" for going on the Jeremy Kyle show. I believe Dave, Cherry, Rols and Sue had very few misgivings, if any, about what they were letting themselves in for, by partaking in that particular circus. I was witness to proceedings directly before the whole show, which revealed the various agendas being played out by the producers. However, they decided to go ahead and take part because they felt that more good would result from them doing so, than if they chose to do and say nothing. And, I believe this has been borne out in the responses we have received from viewers.

I don't think we were naive at all. We realised long before appearing on the show that the crowd would be whipped up; that we would be accused of being an "off-shoot of the Family"; that we would be rated on a par with Jonestown etc.. We went on because we have been falsely accused of several things and we were presented with an opportunity to address at least some of them.

Sure, the producers did what they could to interrupt, to edit, and to just generally distort the truth.  But they had to include something, and even their edits (when obvious) helped to communicate to discerning viewers what we were up against.

We also had our dear antagonist, Brian, appear on the show with his (and I assume the rest of our enemies') number one gripe. Wait for it.... it has got to be really bad. The reason we are so despicably evil, he says, is because we have bad press. The Press (including Jeremy Kyle) says we are evil because Brian says we are evil, and Brian says we are evil because the Press says we are evil.  And don't forget that Brian has only spent fifteen minutes visiting one of our bases in his entire life.  In more than 25 years of operation, Jeremy Kyle and his vast army of producers and researchers could not find anyone else in the entire world who would represent a better case against us than that.  And it is the entire basis for the whole charade of condemnation that they dump on us. 

We have bad press... we address the lies which make up this bad press... we're being "too defensive"... and so we get even worse press! The devil sure loves that vicious circle, doesn't he?!

A comment Jesse recently made on our forum:
"There were still many people who saw through the mud [slung at us on the Jeremy Kyle show] and understood us well. Those are the gems we're mining for."

Some continued to call us a "cult", said we are too naive and defensive, placed us on a par with Jonestown etc. It would be naive of us to think that would not occur. However, in the midst of this there will always be a tiny, wonderful minority: the few sincere souls who can see through a lie, and recognise when people, such as ourselves, are being unfairly labeled and cruelly mistreated.

Those people are the "gems" we are mining for. Those are the people we will continue to put ourselves on the firing line for. It will not be the last time we will be accused of publicity seeking, or indeed the last time we will be condemned for being too naive or defensive, but maybe these are just a few more of the labels we are being called to wear in our attempts to follow the One who has had every label under the sun thrown at him first (John 15:20-21; Matthew 10:22).

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