We don’t always have to defend ourselves

Farmville Enterprise October 4, 2017

A good number of older adults reveal that they have learned not to care what others think. Maturity has given them the freedom not to worry about misperceptions regarding themselves. In response to hearing that someone judged them in a negative light they calmly can say, “If the shoe fits wear it, if not, kick it off.”

There were times when Jesus corrected the record about his ministry and character, but there were also times when he said nothing in the face of false accusations. Jesus’ attitude was never defensive.

“The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death, but they did not find any. Many testified falsely against him, but their statements did not agree. Then some stood up and gave this false testimony against him. ‘We heard him say, ‘I will destroy this man-made temple and in three days will build another, not made by man.’ Yet even then their testimony did not agree. Then the high priest stood up before them and asked Jesus, ‘Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?’ But Jesus remained silent and gave no answer.”  (Mark 14:55-61)

“Meanwhile Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor asked him, ‘Are you the king of the Jews?’ ‘Yes, it is as you say,’ Jesus replied. When he was accused by the chief priests and the elders, he gave no answer. Then Pilate asked him, ‘Don’t you hear the testimony they are bringing against you?’ But Jesus made no reply, not even to a single charge – to the great amazement of the governor.” (Matthew 27:11-14)

It is understandable that as Christians we want our actions and attitudes to be consistent with our profession of faith. No matter how consistently we try to live, however, there always will be those who misinterpret what we do or say or misrepresent them altogether. Sometimes it is better not to respond. That is difficult.

Too often we misinterpret or misrepresent others ourselves. As we know this to be reality, we should bear it in mind when negative “facts” about people surface. It often can turn out that they have been portrayed falsely.

There is freedom in worrying less about what other people think and not entertaining criticisms about those around us. “Am I now trying to win the approval of people, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” (Galatians 1:10)

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