When Your Enemies Outnumber The Hairs On Your Head
I was reading today from a devotional book that included Psalm 69:1-6--a psalm that was obviously written by someone who was feeling a bit outnumbered and attacked by people who were out to get him.
"Those who hate me without reason," he laments, "outnumber the hairs of my head; many are my enemies without cause, those who seek to destroy me."
I've had more than my fair share of low moments when I felt like there were a bunch of people out to get me. When you are being criticized or when someone is attacking you with gossip, slander or just a slow drip campaign of innuendo and half-truths it can feel overwhelming.
Someone will say to you, "I've heard 'people' talking about you and this is what they are saying..." When you hear the word "people" you tend to think of more than one, and it's not too long before you multiply that number in your head and it starts to feel as though the people who hate you "without reason" outnumber the hairs of your head.
Just for the record, when someone comes to you and says, "people are talking" you may as well include them with the alleged "people" who are talking.
The reason why it wounds us so deeply when we are criticized (fairly or unfairly) is because most of us secretly wonder if there is some truth to the accusations leveled against us. And further, we wonder if said truth is due to a deep character flaw within us, or some kind of divine punishment for wrongdoing on our part.
So, how do we combat these overwhelming feelings? How do we move beyond the self-doubt and the self-accusation? How do we move past our desire to seek the approval of others?
Only by drawing closer to God can we discover the kind of affirmation that will last. For those who would follow Jesus, we are defined by him, not our critics. There may be kernels of truth within the criticisms we experience, and we can use those to grow and mature.
But the only person we really need to worry about pleasing loved us so much he gave his life for us.
May you feel your worth in the eyes of God today. May you know that Jesus has covered you in his love and grace, and you need only seek his approval, not the approval of people. May you realize that people will always let you down, but Jesus will never leave or forsake you. May you see even your critics through Jesus' eyes.
And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.
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