Over the past few months, God has done a work on my heart and my mouth. Somehow, with His glorious and miracle-working hands, He has reached down and shut my mouth in situations where I would normally open it wide and give people my fiddy cents. He’s taught me to process and contemplate what others say before responding. Most of the time, after their words have bounced their way through my brain’s filtering system, I ended up deciding a response wasn’t even necessary. It’s taken time for God to chisel this trait into my character, yet sometimes the old hood-rat in me still tries to reach through the cracks of my spirit to gut-punch the meanies. That’s when God usually steps in and yanks my chain by dropping “coincidental” road blocks onto my train-of-thought’s tracks. Looking back over the months that God used to teach me this lesson, I don’t remember any of the things that I wish I had said. I only recall the words that I regretted saying. When I think about them, it makes me shutter with embarrassment. I often ask, “Why didn’t you yank my chain, Lord?” But, I know the reason. It’s because He was teaching me to be humble and still in the face of “haters.”
The other day, someone asked me a question about my job. Before I had the chance to answer, someone else chimed in with their opinion of my work, answering for me. I thought this was a person who supported and believed in me, but I stood corrected as they downplayed the importance of my field. I was crushed, but something that I’ve learned recently is to always CONSIDER THE SOURCE.
After taking some time to think about this individual’s current lack of knowledge on the subject as well as their empty sphere of influence, I found myself echoing Jesus’ words, “You have said it.” If that’s their opinion of me, then that’s the only “Me” they will ever get. As long as a person thinks lowly of you, they will never get to experience the best parts of who you are. Iron sharpens iron, and we need iron people to help push us forward in this life. Let them assume that you are Less Than. That way, their jaw will drop when they realize they were wrong.
It’s unlikely that Herod wanted to see Jesus actually perform a miracle. You see, Herod was a self-centered man. It was more likely that he wanted to see Jesus fail in front of his posse. Herod knew that he, himself, couldn’t perform miracles, so he didn’t want a beloved teacher to achieve a level of admiration and success that he was incapable of attaining, even as a ruler. People nowadays are no different. There are going to be people in your life who simply do not want to see you succeed. That’s the bottom line. A lot of times, these people may even be family members or folks you considered to be close friends. Don’t be surprised or alarmed by this. Even Jesus had close friends who betrayed him. Follow his example when these people mock you. Just be silent. Don’t try to put on a show a prove your worth to them. They aren’t your primary audience. You are living your life on the stage as your Heavenly Father looks on. He is your source of both encouragement and approval-no one else. So when those haters open their mouths, just focus on keeping yours shut.
Just a little side-note here before we go straight into this last step: Did you know that your body is able to convert fat into energy when you’re dieting? It’s a very neat automatic process that takes a lot of hard work, but it’s so worth it in the long run on your way to total body health and fitness. In the same way, your mind can convert negative comments into positive motivation! It isn’t easy, and you’re going to need to rely on the Holy Spirit to help you out, but it can be done! Allow those nay-sayers to become burning hot coals stacked up in your steam engine to success. At the same time, remember how the negativity made you feel, and make a conscious effort to be a positive influence to those around you. If you want encouragement, be sure to dish out words of encouragement. You’ll notice that as you speak positivity into the lives of others, you will feel better about yourself.
Above all else, remember to be humble. Sometimes, getting knocked down a few notches is good for us. Don’t get too big for your britches on your uphill climb to success. Always be sure to reach back and pull others up with you. It’s so much more fun to cheer others on rather than to sit pridefully at the top of your ivory tower. If you follow Christ’s example of humility, those haters may eventually swallow their own pride and ask for your help. One can only hope for such a beautiful outcome.
Have a great week,