Do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say. —Luke 12:11-12
Do you know what it is to take your stand in a particular situation and have nobody agree with you? Unvindicated righteousness occurs when a righteous deed was criticized or misunderstood. Now it could be you were wrong. You may not know. At the end of the day the righteous Judge will do the vindicating.
However, perhaps you were right. Let us say you have taken your stand because you were honoring God and following the Holy Spirit, and there was not a vestige of ego or pride in it. You were just doing it for the honor of God alone, and as a result you were lied about and people believed those lies. You made no attempt to put the record straight. You could have cleared your name, but you did not. That is what God likes. Had you cleared your name, you would have built a superstructure of straw, but you kept quiet, and God's heart was moved. Your silence was golden—pure gold in fact. In 2 Thessalonians 1:6, in the very same paragraph when Paul talks about the Second Coming of Jesus in blazing fire, he also said, "It is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you" (KJV).
But we want to know when this will happen. The NIV is very clear: this will happen when Jesus comes in fire, in glory. There is no promise of vindication this side of heaven. You may get it, but there is no promise of it. Maybe you were tempted to speak out and clear your own name, but on that day you will be glad you kept your mouth shut, because God loves to clear the name of those who have been mistreated.
Excerpted from When God Says "Well Done!" (Christian Focus Publications Ltd., 1993).