And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. Matthew 16:14-16 (KJV)
One thing you can always count on is that people will categorize you and tell you who you are. They will take whatever information they have and decide your value and worth in their estimation. Within the framework of their knowledge, influence and faith, you will be judged and deemed either of value or….. not. Even Jesus was exposed to this, I mean after all He was Jesus, not an Earthly prophet; so we can expect similar treatment.
This isn’t accomplished with words in the Christian community in all cases, at least not to the person directly, it is more of a subversive whisper and a sense of detachment. When you might hear words is in one or more ways. Should you be in the public eye and “fair game” for the masses you can expect attacks,and when you are outspoken and opinionated, there will be blow back! If your sphere is much smaller and limited, the feeling of disdain will be kept more quiet, but just as harmful, if not more so.
I have had my value and worth decided by others, but that isn’t their fault, it’s mine.
Our lives create a story-line where many things about us are revealed. Through looking at ones actions over time you get a glimpse of who and what someone is. We start out with the ability to shape how we are perceived, and by the message we loudly proclaim we define who we are. This can be in either a negative, neutral, or positive light. Of course that then depends upon others as to what place we assume in their opinion.
Should we care what others think? I mean simply put should the evaluation of others influence our actions and motives going forward? Well yes….and no.
Yes for the Christian, in the sense that our actions reveal our heart. If we are bringing harm to Jesus name we need to make some adjustments and correct some faulty actions. There is much more at stake than our own comfort, a higher purpose must be considered.
The answer is no as well, for in the process of growing and learning we trip and fall along the way. We, like every person of faith makes mistakes. These are based in much more than whether we follow and abide by every commandment, but colored by the life experiences we all have. Some have a background of loving support and nurturing, while others are stained with the curse of abuse, neglect, and rejection.
For my part, although I have made many mistakes, I consider the fact I am still alive and have never quit trying to be a better man, as something I needn’t apologize for, at least not to the public. Those I have personally harmed I am responsible to make amends with, that’s true for anyone, however, if you knew my journey, my family background and what I was forced to endure as a child, you might understand my life in a different context; instead of the constant comparison which takes place so often in Christian circles
I am a fighter, and even as I reach into my 50’s I haven’t stopped in my relentless pursuit of a godly life.
But whenever anyone turns to the Lord from his sins, then the veil is taken away. The Lord is the Spirit who gives them life, and where he is there is freedom from trying to be saved by keeping the laws of God. But we Christians have no veil over our faces; we can be mirrors that brightly reflect the glory of the Lord. And as the Spirit of the Lord works within us, we become more and more like him. 2 Corinthians 3:15-18 (TLB)
My conclusion is that while some have done things that in the eyes of others disqualify them from serving in a leadership position, we should leave that entirely in the hands of God. He sees what no man can, for He looks deep into the heart of a person and not on the outward appearance.
But God told Samuel, “Looks aren’t everything. Don’t be impressed with his looks and stature. I’ve already eliminated him. God judges persons differently than humans do. Men and women look at the face; God looks into the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7 (MSG)
I am a man humbled by my sins, brought low by the revelation of the motives in my heart, cast away for my sinful deeds and inhabiting a dry and deserted place. I am also a man who is forgiven and restored in my relationship with God, growing in my lifelong pursuit to really know Him. I am grateful for the grace my Father gives, the unconditional love I feel in my heart everyday is a gift from heaven itself.
Who am I? Gods beloved son, favored, nurtured, loved, a moment hasn’t passed and never will that He takes His eyes away from me. Who do I say He is? My creator, heavenly Father, lifelong friend, faithful guide, shining example, sovereign Lord, the giver of all good gifts, the God of everything. The great I AM!