By: Denise Pass © 6/26/14
Psalm 62:4, 12, Psalm 63:11b, Psalm 64:3, 7, 8,10
:4 They spend all their time planning how to bring him down. They love to use deceit; they pronounce blessings with their mouths but inwardly they utter curses. 12 And You, O Lord, demonstrate loyal love. For you repay men for what they do. Psalm 63:11… everyone who takes oaths in His name will boast, for the mouths of those who speak lies will be shut up. Psalm 64:3 They sharpen their tongues like a sword; they aim their arrow, a slanderous charge. 7 But God will shoot at them; suddenly they will be wounded by an arrow. 8 Their slander will bring about their demise. All who see them will shudder. 10 The godly will rejoice in the Lord and take shelter in Him. All the morally upright will boast.
Ever had someone who just did not like you? You try to do everything you can to affect their feelings, but to no avail. Perhaps it is just the position you hold in their life, but making sense of it appears to be impossible. Accepting it is even more difficult.
When I am tempted to be absorbed in self-pity due to the discovery that someone has slandered me or expressed to others their hatred, I find comfort in God’s word. It just is not about me. Godly men in Scripture suffered similarly and had drama surrounding them. David had enemies – Joseph did, too – within their own household. David’s son would betray him, Joseph’s own brothers would be blinded by jealousy – but God would ultimately use it for good. In fact, all throughout Scripture there is a pattern repeated many times within families. Separation due to jealousy, anger, hurt feelings. Sometimes due to faith, too.
Such behavior seems nonsensical, inane, but assuredly most everyone will encounter and have to deal with being the object of scorn. How can we glorify God in that situation? First, bringing the pain to God and asking Him to reveal any hidden sin in ourselves can shed some light. Seeking His perspective, not ours, begins to make things clearer. Asking questions of myself, such as why it bothers me when I am slandered, helps me to understand that I am seeking glory, seeking to be admired and accepted. Did Christ worry about people liking him? Not so much. He embraced the reality of dissenters and prayed for them.
What if I was more worried about God being robbed of glory than myself? Ultimately it is all about God’s glory and He is my Defender. Resting in His deliverance versus striving on my own brings peace and joy. If I lay down the idol of my reputation and seek to glorify Him in my response, perhaps then I can see how something so insidious as someone talking about me can actually work for my good and God’s glory. Lastly, counting our blessings and focusing on all the good in our lives puts the focus where it needs to be.
If you find yourself despised today, know that you are in good company. Our Savior and many amazing biblical characters suffered similarly. He is able to help you take your eyes off of yourself and set your gaze on Him – the only One Who truly was innocent, and Who we all were once enemies of.
Lord, it hurts when we are shunned or when people believe slander about us. Help us to rejoice in those times that we can experience a tiny portion of what You endured. Be glorified, Lord – in our afflictions and momentary hardships – which can never compare to Your willing sacrifice.