“Wisdom gives strength to the wise man more than ten rulers who are in a city. Surely there is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins. Do not take to heart all the things that people say, lest you hear your servant cursing you. Your heart knows that many times you yourself have cursed others (Ecc. 7:19-22).”
We live in a world, where it is tempting to care more about what others think or say concerning us. It affects us in our varying roles, whether it is our community of faithful friends, parenting, our involvement in a ministry, or even at our day job. The truth is: we all deeply care about what others think and say concerning us. We each wrestle with “taking to heart” what others say about us, and it leaves its footprint on those same roles and our abilities to do them well.
When we care about how others view us, it begins to skew how we view that person or community. While they may be non-believers that do not know the hope of our loving Savior, it is entirely possibly they are members of our Christian community. Personally church relationships seem to be the messiest in my life, however work relationships might be yours. We all have those relationships. Whichever, relationships are not the core issue. We can even label this intense passion one thing – people pleasing.
Many of us, particularly if you struggle with low self-esteem or anxiety, care what others think of us. Our level of passionately pleasing others will determine our response, in terms of overhearing one of these devastating comments.
I have many examples of church relationships gone wrong. I think the hardest part is wanting to please them more than Jesus. It is easy to get distracted by the things of this world and allow our hearts to care more about people’s comments, rather than living to please our King.
When it comes to speaking about others, I have been a fool. There is no other way to put it, other than when I open my mouth – I say the most unthoughtful strand of words. This is why we need to offer each other the grace and love Jesus Christ has extended to us. His passion is found in His love and pursuit of reconciling our relationship with the Father.
We all struggle with the words we speak and unthoughtful opinions we utter to the ears next to us. Although social media makes this temptation to gossip greater, our concern ought to on choosing what represents the trust we have in Jesus Christ. I don’t know about you, but when I utter words my heart is not focused on Jesus Christ. I am focused on “how much of a fool I can act like”.
As we think of this passage, let’s remember the urging to not passionately use others’ words to hold a grudge against them. We each ramble words, when we are unthinking. But, we have been given a gift that is too big to not mention.
We are invited into a brand new way of life, through Jesus’ death and resurrection. It is by Jesus’ resurrection power, that we can put away the past, its memories, and the hurtful habits we maintained. Living to please Jesus is the only way. We have to choose to put away all hurtful words, whether theirs or ours and pursue heartfelt reconciliation – because of Jesus Christ. This reconciliation is made possible through King Jesus, and His Words are the only one’s who matter at the end of the day. He will help us work through all the hurtful emotions, relationships, and everything else. Let’s just pursue authentic reconciliation, and join together with our friends and family to work through all the hurt.
Let’s seek ways to please Jesus in our relationships. As we have been given forgiveness, grace, and love, let us long to share it with others. Run to King Jesus with the hurt we stumble across, as we hear others’ words. As we run, let’s remember none are perfect, His healing is real, and His strength is perfect.