"Also do not take to heart everything you hear people say..." Ecclesiastes 7:21
This word was timely in that earlier this week, I discovered that someone was harshly criticizing me without my knowledge. I understand that these things are going to happen and I should expect them to happen. I simply wonder what it is that possesses Christian men and women, or at least men and women who claim to be Christians, to talk about another brother or sister behind their backs and share intimate concerns about relationships without the accused's knowledge.
This bugs me on several levels; it goes against the grain of Christian love. If you truly love someone as Christ teaches that you ought to love, then it stands to reason that you would care enough that IF you have a concern about someone you will share it with that person and not trumpet your concerns to everyone BUT that person.
It also goes against the grain of Christian character. We should be bold enough with our brethren that if we have a trouble, then we should have the resolve to share it with them. Christians are not cowards--we have the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit that leads, guides, and directs our intentions, and He can make known when an accusation is brought in Christlike love and compassion.
It also goes against the grain of Christian friendship and brotherhood. As Christians we are bound together by a strong cord of mutual faith in Jesus that should lead us to respect one another despite differences, regardless of how strong they may be.
As I was reading this morning, this verse struck me as a word from the Lord. I know I should give the accuser the benefit of the doubt. I did receive the accusation from a third party, a party that I do not know that I can altogether trust. However, when such accusations come, and because of my persona, I generally have a very hard time dealing with them, and I tend to take things to heart (hence the significance of the above verse). I let them affect my mood, my work, my walk, and ultimately my family.
Lord, give me the grace to overcome these pressures, and to extend grace to those who are unfair toward me.