I like to be liked. Who doesn’t. I get rather envious of people who really don’t care what other people think. I’m an ENFJ on the Meyer’s Brigg’s test, and I’m scary high on the third letter. If you don’t know what F stands for in this test, let me enlighten you: FEELING. So yes, I am highly moved and grooved by outside sources. I try to find this as a blessing but quite often it is a curse.
When people are critical of me I want to crawl in a cave and hibernate. I want to hide away from ever putting myself out in the open to be hurt again, and again….and yet again.
But I do. (somehow the E part of the ENFJ wins over since I am a natural extrovert and need people)
Not too long ago I had someone attack my character. In a discussion I made a statement about how I felt about a particular situation that I felt was unfair and I got an ear-full of character flaws. I won’t go in to details, but it hurt me.
I suppose with every accusation there is an ounce of truth, so I’m weighing what was said and trying to let the rest roll off my back. It’s hard to do. But here’s what I’ve started asking myself when someone hurts me like that:
1. How much does this person know you? If they know you well, they might have poor presentation (It’s ok to say that to them) but the information might be good, albeit hard to hear.
2. How much does this person care? If they don’t know you very well and aren’t willing to invest some time in to helping you change for the better, you might not want to dwell on it too much.
3. Disagree with the situation, not the person. If someone says, “well, I didn’t like it when you did this,” and you let out a barrage of accusations about their character, it solves nothing.
4. Everyone comes in to a conversation with their own baggage, stress and experiences. Try to remember this and give them some grace.
5. You aren’t alone. Every day, somewhere, someone is experiencing a hurtful situation, a bruise to their self-esteem, and a comment made without thinking. It’s the challenge of human-ness. We try to be kind, but we fail often.
The Bible might be the most popular book in history, but Jesus wasn’t liked by everyone either. (I know this surprises you) He was rejected in his very hometown. They didn’t like what he was about. They didn’t like the changes he was making. They were fearful of what he was doing and claims he was making. He spoke truth, but they weren’t quite ready for it yet.
I want to share a passage with you that I was looking at recently. It’s in Luke, from the beginning of Jesus’ ministry. He show’s up in Nazareth, his hometown to teach and preach. He’s been preparing for this, fasting in the desert, listening to God. He was the hometown boy, now 30, ready to start his ministry, but things don’t go very well….read this….
“He answered, “I suppose you’re going to quote the proverb, ‘Doctor, go heal yourself. Do here in your hometown what we heard you did in Capernaum.’ Well, let me tell you something: No prophet is ever welcomed in his hometown. Isn’t it a fact that there were many widows in Israel at the time of Elijah during that three and a half years of drought when famine devastated the land, but the only widow to whom Elijah was sent was in Sarepta in Sidon? And there were many lepers in Israel at the time of the prophet Elisha but the only one cleansed was Naaman the Syrian.”
That set everyone in the meeting place seething with anger. They threw him out, banishing him from the village, then took him to a mountain cliff at the edge of the village to throw him to his doom, but he gave them the slip and was on his way.” (Luke 4:24-30)
Here’s a couple interesting thoughts about what Jesus is trying to communicate here in this unassuming passage.
1. Elijah wasn’t sent to an Israelite. There were lots of Israelite widows who may have believed Elijah. But instead he was sent to a non-Israelite or a Gentile. This means the God of Israel has sent His prophet to be assisted by someone who does not serve the God of Israel. Yet, if you read in 1 Kings 17, Elijah asks her to go and use the very last of her flour and water to make him bread, because this is what the Lord wants, and she does, with very little hesitation.
2. Jesus is pointing out to them that God shows up in to people who don’t necessarily fit the criteria, in ways we don’t always understand, to people we don’t understand, not just the Israelites, but people like you and me.
3. This made the Israelites angry.
4. Jesus walks away.
People aren’t always going to like what we’re about or what we say. I try to imagine what brought me to the intersection in that conversation the other day that would make this person lash out and say the things they said. Was it fear? Was it the inability to see beyond a single perspective? Did they need to hide something? Was it how I said it?
I don’t know. Nor do I really understand why the Israelites in this passage were worried about sharing God’s goodness and blessing with a non-Israelite, or why they were fearful of Jesus?
But I do know what happened when Jesus realized the information was not being taken well.
He walked away.
He didn’t stay and fight. He didn’t argue his case. He didn’t put them in their place.
He walked away.
What mis-information do you need to walk away from today? Did someone say something recently that hurt you and attacked your character?
Take an ounce of what they say for good measure.
And walk away.