If there is anything intangible that I value very much, it is my name. So much so that in times past it has been a weakness. I used to be so concerned about what everyone thought about me, and because of this I would do everything to be in the good books. Yes you can say I was a “people pleaser”. It’s a terrible place to be, because in this frame of mind, I can say in hindsight that I was probably insincere. Not because I wanted to be that way, but because I desired for everyone to think highly of me, and to uphold the good image that I imagined of myself, so I would suppress my thoughts, opinions, and emotions, while presenting an image that I believed the other person would welcome.
It is indeed a good thing to be at peace with everyone, as a matter of fact the Bible commands it: “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” (Rom. 12:18, NIV). However to not confront situations, or to be overly concerned only about one’s own self image is a selfish thing to do. I say this because if you are this way, you are focusing just on yourself, and giving the other party a distorted image of the situation at hand. Needless to say this was the former me. On the other hand, this is no indication and no affirmation that you should be blunt and blatant at giving everyone a piece of your mind- the “i’m just going to tell it as it is attitude”. The point is to not be too focused on oneself.
Anyway, all that said was besides the point. I have been in many different situations where I felt like I had been misrepresented. It was a tough one because I had felt like a lot of work has been put into keeping a good name et cetera and someone with their mouth just defames my personality. In response I would do all I could to fight back, and set the record straight. The process of trying to mend a broken image (or what I imagined it to be) was a painful process. It was emotionally tasking, and made me overly concerned and sensitive. And off-course there exists the “accuser of the brethren”- satan, whose job is to accuse the brethren day and night (Rev.12:10), who for as long as I entertained the thoughts would not let go of putting pressure on that emotional soft spot.
Recently God began to deal with me on this issue. In the first place, I have a responsibility to walk in integrity because He who walks in integrity walks securely (Prov.10:9). There is a Yoruba proverb that says that words can travel to places where the feet of men cannot easily reach (or something of the sort…you get the point). So if I do all that I know to be right, and inline with the commandment of love, I am safe. But there are some situations you just can’t do anything about!!! There are times when situations are just taken out of context and in the course of time, the original siutaiton is misprepresented. Remember the telephone game (Chinese whispers)? A person whispers a phrase to the person seated on their other side. By the time the message had passed through a dozen people it was so different from the original.
I began to understand that truth will always prevail in every situation, and that if I am too focused on what everyone else thinks, I’ll probably die early. After many attempts to fight and do something in the flesh about wrongful accusations, the reality of the fact that I couldn’t do much by my own power set in. I stress again that my only responsibility is to make sure that as far as it concerns me, that I would walk uprightly.
I think what did it for me is when someone asked me “how many times did you see Jesus defending Himself?” A light bulb flashed in me. I couldn’t get away from that question, and later that same day, the Spirit ministered to me Isaiah 53:5, 7 “But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities…He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth”
Now cross reference that with 1 Peter 2:23 “who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously”
I don’t think it could be any clearer than that. At that point I resolved within myself, and agreed with God that I would stop trying to defend myself. Ultimately my goal is to exercise this attribute to the point when I am innocuous to any defaming statement that may circle back to me and not loose a wink of sleep. Please remember this only works with the measure of your sense of right standing with God, otherwise it would be tantamount to living a careless life.
Nonetheless, a good name is VERY IMPORTANT, because “A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold.” (Prov.22:1, NASB)
With that said, I pledge to stop defending myself, I would rather focus my energy on living a holy life and being a person of strong character. My charge to you is to live your life with high values. If you make mistakes, genuinely repent; correct them with the mindset to never make the same mistake. Don’t get hung up about what people think about you. Live purposefully, grow consciously and attain higher goals.
What are your thoughts? What steps are you taking to be a person of strong character? How much do you care or do you think you don’t care about other’s opinion about you? Let’s discuss…