Proverbs 25:29 The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe.
So, the other day I was faced with something that I haven’t encountered since high school — someone had said something about me to someone else that wasn’t true. I found myself on the kitchen floor crying and pleading to God: “that’s not true!”. Grant it, the situation could have been way worse but the knowledge that people could spread false narratives about me to others was deeply frustrating, especially since I had sensed jealousy from the person on several occasions before. I was an angry mess, trying to contain my emotions and finding a way to cope with seeing behind the wizard’s veil, gaining a layer of awareness about people that I had simply forgotten. All I could do in a situation where I had no control over someone else’s actions was to control what I could control — me. Suddenly the question emerged within; “Why do I care?”
Galatians 1:10 For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.
I reluctantly, with the help of my loving husband, confronted myself and my reason for being upset. I knew what had been said wasn’t true, so why was I bothered? Why were other people’s perceptions of me so important? Truth is, the people pleasing fear of not being liked had taken control over me for a long time. It had kept me from communicating my boundaries, affected my self esteem negatively and made me avoid stepping into my full power, all out of the fear of losing the approval of man. Now, it had started to affect how I let falsehood impact truth — a true wake up call on my journey in life. I had to start making a change. But how?
Matthew 10:16 Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.
As followers of Christ, our greatest responsibility while navigating through life is to pray on the question:“What would Jesus do?” and follow the holy spirit within us. If it’s something that Jesus faced during his time on earth it’s persecution. This was necessary to separate the sheep from the goats and to fulfil the prophesy that had us saved — the forgiveness granted to us through Jesus’ flesh and blood. While many people loved and followed him, many also hated and envied him. As the son of God, he carried a light and a divine truth that lovers of the flesh could not receive, still to this day. In the same way, we as followers of Christ, carry his light through the holy spirit. This can cause two different reactions in people; Inspiration or Intimidation.
I started thinking about the girl that had made the false remark about me, her demeanour and the jealousy I had sensed. In the midst of all the disappointment, the spirit of Christ started to work in me and I felt compassion for her. I could relate to the times I had felt similar emotions and self doubt. If my God given gifts, beauty and light had made her go to the extent of sacrificing her own integrity as a temporary band aid for her ego, that is a sad proof of the works that the enemy is doing in our world. It shows that, when God loses his position at the top of the hierarchy in our lives, the enemy is quick to take that spot and fill it up with self hatred and comparison. When God leads, however, we can celebrate our gifts through the praise of God and the diverse creativity he had when creating us. Through this praise we can avoid judgement and pray for protection so that we do not fall into the same sin of the people who hurt and/or dislike us.
There was a point of the evening when I had wanted to give her a compliment for her dress and the way she looked, but hesitated to do so. Maybe that obedience would’ve had an impact on her, saved us both from unnecessary negative emotion and planted a seed of God’s kindness in her heart. Maybe that was the decrement from God that I had been praying for before entering the space that caused me so much headache after. All I knew was that I didn’t follow that intuition and if I was to continue to fester on this experience, the devil would win.
Luke 6:27–28 Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.
Slowly a negative experience started to turn into an important life lesson for me. I realized that God sometimes sends his greatest gifts through the most difficult of emotions. No, it was not right of her to lie, but mainly because of the treasure she lost in heaven by doing so, something that should sadden me more so than the sacrifice of my own reputation. On the other hand, my obsession with what other people think of me, completely overlook what is actually important in life — God’s love and approval. For the approval of man is fluctuating, but God’s love is steadfast. Hence, my responsibility in life is to please God and sometimes in doing so, I will displease other people.
If Jesus, while dying on the cross from excruciating pain, forgave his persecutors saying “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34–38) I could forgive, love and have compassion for this person too.