When we choose to follow Jesus not everyone will speak well of us. This comes with the territory of commitment to Christ. It should not alarm us, since this is how Jesus was treated. The crowds praised Him for His authoritative teaching, but there always seemed to be a jealous group lurking about. His authentic life condemned their hypocrisy. His clear teaching made the teaching of the religious leaders look complex and controlling.
Not being well spoken of is part of the cup we must drink as a disciple of Christ. If we try to please everyone we run the risk of pleasing no one. People intimidated into pleasing people become anxious, fearful and exhausted. Pleasing all the people all the time is not possible—it is futile. You cannot do enough to satisfy some people.
“You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said to them. “Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?” “We can,” they answered” (Matthew 20:22).
Why are some people chronic complainers? Their insecurity craves attention, their pride demands attention and their pain requires attention. Their hurt has caused them to lose perspective and unfortunately, you may become the object of their frustration. But by God’s grace you can love them through this unsettling time. You know better.
You can give them what they have denied you. Your patience and forgiveness will go a long way in loving them to Jesus. It is your life that validates your words during times of duress. Do not be surprised when others do not speak well of you. They may not have a context to understand, because they may not have Christ.
What does matter is what God thinks about you. Fortunately by faith, He accepts you in Christ. However, your ongoing maturity in the faith is a concern of His. He does expect you to trust Him more and fear man less. He desires for you a love relationship with Him that is intimate, interesting and instructive. His affection is your affirmation.
When the Lord affirms your place in life, you can rest assured. Do not waffle when the conflicting opinions of others urge you their way. Your stability is in God. He is your rock and refuge. His validation matters most, so rest in Him and do not react to the unrealistic expectations of others. Only you, led by the Holy Spirit, can define God’s expectations.
There is a good chance someone will not understand your faith walk and give you grief. Doing the right thing may cost you a relationship or financial remuneration. Your obedience to Christ may draw out the firestorm of criticism from some, or it may be their subtle rejection that stings. Either way, pray for and love them regardless of their unfounded words. God knows, that’s all that really matters. Listen for His well-spoken words instead!
“He received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased” (2 Peter 1:17).