“Reputation is what others think of us; character is what God knows of us. When you have spent what feels like eternity trying to repair a few moments of time that destroyed the view others once had of you then you must ask yourself if you have the problem or is it really them? God doesn’t make us try so hard, only enemies do.” –– Shannon L. Alder
It is interesting to watch people from a broken place; the reactions and actions of others in response to your own problems. One of the things you will deal with almost daily are the words of others. They will come back to you but rarely to your face. You will know who is talking and what they are saying. You will know what is truth and what is false because truly only you do know what happened.
If you don’t fight it and don’t talk you will come to realize that people will fill in the blanks for you and anyone else that will listen. It is gut-wrenching. It is excruciating and yes it is unfair. It’s not that something didn’t happen but it is that you have chosen to tell only those that matter (mostly your family) and there are a whole lot of other people who can’t get enough of the story. In fact if they can’t get truth they will settle for speculation. They will talk and you will feel every word that comes back to you as they all eventually do. Most generally they come with names associated with them.
And then from your brokenness you get a chance to respond and react. You now have to decide how you will react to others. Will you return good for evil? Will you remain quiet and let God fight your battles for you? Will you continue to keep your head down and focus on the healing process in your own life?
The thing to avoid is bitterness. You can’t control people who are by nature gossips. The Proverb writer warned of things that God hates in Proverbs 16 with these words: There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: 17haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, 18a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, 19a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.
Remember that a part of your own story probably includes lies so you have your own stuff to confess. Chances are you have confessed however it won’t seem to matter much to some who would rather hear the bad stuff then hear anything good. You are broken. Remember that. Press on to find God and let Him be your strength and healer. And when given the change to respond to others in the future who have messed up or done something to incur the wrath of others. Let the words of the Apostle Paul admonish you and push you to do the right thing.
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Eph. 4:29-32 NIV
It’s not easy but press on. Don’t give up. Follow what you know is happening in your heart where no one else can see.
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Phil. 3:12-14 NIV
Again the intention of this blog is not to throw stones at anyone else but it is to help me process my circumstances and to leave a trail for others that may find themselves in this place. It is also to push my own heart to be a better person then I was in the past. It is to try hard to learn and be more mindful of others in the future. I want to be kinder. I want to be more loving and giving.