Sanballat and Geshem sent to me, saying, “Come, let us meet together among the villages in the plain of Ono.” But they thought to do me harm.
So I sent messengers to them, saying, “I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down. Why should the work cease while I leave it and go down to you?” Nehemiah 6:2-3
I love the way Nehemiah answers his enemies! He defends himself with the work of the Lord.
The enemies persisted in trying to meet with Nehemiah, who refused each time. Then they increased the attack with untrue allegations of conspiracy and rebellion against the king.
Nehemiah’s response – Then I sent to him, saying, “No such things as you say are being done, but you invent them in your own heart.” Nehemiah 6:8
The Bible tells you a soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Prov 15:1
If Nehemiah had responded to his enemies with, “You’re a liar” it would only fuel their cause.
Now he did indicate their falsehoods but did it in such a diplomatic way as to not blatantly insult them.
Each of us could learn a few lessons from him.
First – view the work of God with the utmost importance.
Second – let nothing stop the work.
Third – do not allow yourself to get trapped into senseless debates.
Fourth – treat others with respect, even your enemies.
Finally – do not give in, do not give up.