When I was growing up I dealt with a lot of bullying. It made me really self-conscious and I often wondered what other people thought of me.
For awhile in my life I let what other people thought of me define me in spite of what I knew to be true about myself, and my actions.
Recently I had realized that maybe I let other people’s opinion of me control more of my life than I would like.
We all have a tendency to make judgments about people, be suspicious of their actions, or even question their motives. But for me, I often would let these things people said about me to affect my feelings about myself and my life.
God is amazing in that He never allowed us to remain in our sin. From the first sin, God has always been providing redemption, salvation, and protection to His creation. He must see something amazing in us, and yet all we see is the sin we have committed, and that’s usually what other people see, too.
I think in owning my responsibility in all of this, allowing the lies that others believe about me and allowing it to affect me, is the first step towards breaking free from living under the influence of someone else’s thoughts and opinions about me.
That’s exactly what they are, just thoughts and opinions.
Most of the time when people make judgements about us they have no idea who we truly are. But if we also don’t know who we truly are, and if we aren’t rooted in our identity in Christ, then we could easily take on the identity that someone else has given us based off their opinions and thoughts about us.
As I thought about this more, and the power that our negative thoughts about someone can have on them, I thought about the effect our positive thoughts about someone could have on the development of their true identity.
As followers of Christ we need to rise above the judgement and criticism that others may have towards us and realize what our true identity in Christ is. We also need to rise up and really change the thoughts we have about people. We are very aware of what other people think about us, and I am sure others know what we think about them, too. It might not be easy to see the positive in someone else, but it is possible to not grab hold of the negative we see in them.
What has the sacrifice of Christ done in your life?
How has Christ’s perspective of us help to form our true identity?
What could our positive thoughts and belief about other people do to help them discover their identity in Christ?
I feel it could be a real game changer and offer a huge breakthrough for anyone that comes into contact with the grace of Jesus Christ through our perception, our thoughts, and our belief in them.
I think in order to do this we need to focus on three key areas:
- We don’t have to criticize everything. It would be so easy to rise up and point out every flaw that everyone has. Maybe we think criticism only happens in persona, but it often happens behind the scenes. Again, this is gossip because the person isn’t available to truly defend themselves, the perspective is one sided and it is aggressive in nature. We don’t have to point out everyone’s flaws to their face, or even behind their backs.
- We don’t have to judge those who are different than us. Jesus truly released us from the burden to judge people. Hopefully the Holy Spirit will give us discernment, but it is never an invitation to officially judge, and maybe even condemn someone. Even if you know that what someone is doing is flawed, wrong, or even triggered by a lie within themselves. We still don’t need to to condemn them to the point where we feel like that’s how they will always be, or even that they are wrong and we are right. Jesus released us from that burden when He said to remove the plank from your eye before you can see well enough to remove the speck of dust from your own eye. With this Jesus was empowering us to be the catalyst of change instead of always going around and judging others for their wrong behavior. I think most of us just want what’s best for people, and we do this by being the best version of ourselves first!
- We don’t always have to be right. In 1 Corinthians 13 it says love does not boast, it does not envy, it is not proud. How many times do we say or do something because we are proud, boastful, and we just want to prove to the world that we are SO right? How many times do we feel like our way is the best way? What a huge burden that puts on everyone else around us. It is something that will truly destroy any relationship. How many of our thoughts about someone is based off the fact that we are right and they are wrong. I believe Jesus brought us freedom from having to continue to struggle with thoughts of pride about our lives. Sure, it might make us feel superior, but I am confident it does not make us feel better, and it most certainly does not allow us to love others well.
Even if changing the way you view people, what you think about them, and what you say about them doesn’t change their perception of themselves, or you. One thing all of this will do is give you peace and the capacity to focus on God’s plan and will for your life. Jesus gave us the freedom to be self-aware (remove the plank from our eye) and in our growth we will be able to help others along the way if they want the help.
P.S. My special gift to you is this scripture print of Ephesians 4:32.
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