Everyone has been in an argument where someone else said something not very nice about you. The knee-jerk reaction is always to bite back and point out what’s wrong with them, as if their negative qualities disqualify them from saying anything negative about you. It results in hurt feelings, broken relationships, and deep wounds, especially if you are already truly afraid that there is something irreparably wrong with you, and they have just put your worst fears on display for everyone to see.
You see, if you have been taught by people’s actions or words that you are not enough just as you are, that you have to earn people’s love, acceptance and approval, then being “right” and being “all right” at all times will be the most important thing to you. When someone dares to say that you are not “all right”, that something is amiss in you, it can be like a jagged sword jabbed into your soul. But those words don’t have to saw you in two as they have in the past. Those words can, instead, bring you closer to Christ and being more like Him.
We do that in 2 ways:
1. We need to accept that we, like everyone else in the world, are flawed. We do not have it all together and never will on this side of heaven. We will never get it all right, say all the right words, or please every person. We need to be changed if we are to become more like Jesus in this world.
2. We need to accept that, no matter what, God loves us and says we are completely loved, accepted and approved DESPITE any of our character defects. He knows every single flaw in us due to our flesh, and He took those flaws into account when He created us and His plan for us. He is not disappointed or taken aback by our flaws. He knew about them before we were born, and still had us be born.
But change requires being told that you have done something wrong, have fallen short in some area. It also requires that, more than anything, you want to please God more than you want to avoid hearing negative things about yourself. In other words, it requires humility, admitting that we don’t see and accept everything about ourselves and that someone else may see something in us that we need to pay attention to.
The problem is often how people say what is wrong with us. Their words are callous and often said in anger. They may truly intend to hurt you at that moment out of retaliation if they feel hurt.
However, just because they did not say something nicely does not mean that there isn’t a sliver of truth that God wants you to pay attention to. He can use even those callous words spoken in anger to get us to where He needs us to be. The question for you is, will you be humble enough to listen to what they say and ask the Holy Spirit to show you what truth exists in their claims?
It takes bravery to attempt this. It takes a willingness to trust that admitting weakness and failure in areas of our lives doesn’t mean we are a reject. But the payoff is a release from fear of what others say, and becoming that much more like Christ.
I know of several recent situations where women were confronted with their flaws. These women I know were humble and willing to listen to what was said about them and apply it to their lives. I am so incredibly impressed with these women, because they love the Lord and their families more than they love their own pride and need to be “right”. These women look more like Christ today than they did yesterday. But what they don’t realize now is that, from hereon out, other people’s words will not be able to hurt them like they have in the past, because they are no longer afraid of hearing negative things about themselves.
So consider this. The next time someone says something negative about you, think about receiving it as a message from God about an area that you need to work on. Ignore the way the message is delivered; just ask the Holy Spirit to show you what, if any, slivers of truth are lying within that message.
You can then avoid arguments about it by honestly saying to that person, “You know, you may be right about that. I’m going to pray about it. Thank you for pointing that out.” What more is there for them to say if you are willing to agree that you may be wrong and have something in your life to work on?
You are loved and accepted completely and totally by the One who knows you best and loves you most. That means that being told by others may hurt, but it doesn’t disqualify us from being loved. Allow God to use everything that happens to you to make you more like Him, including unkind words, and every day you will be able to know you pleased God with your humility and submission to Him. You will make your Daddy so very proud.