I am a little skeptical when I hear someone say, “I don’t need the approval of others.” We all enjoy an “atta boy” every now and then. In my years when I had work supervisors, I would work harder for one who gave positive affirmations than for one who I could not satisfy. More than we realize, we use the words of others for a mirror.
The Bible gives us a good directive when it comes to how we should think about ourselves. “For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith” (Romans 12:3 NKJV). The word “soberly” means to be of a sound mind. Think rightly about yourself.
We are not as great as our biggest fans think we are, nor are we as bad as our worst critics think or say. The reality is somewhere in between. We stay spiritually and mentally healthy when the applause of men does not make us arrogant and the criticism of others does not throw us into a tailspin.
Taking it a step further, we should carefully think about what others say about us because they may give us an objective view. Those positive about us may see a strong gift we possess while our critics may see a flaw in our lives. Both could be true as we are made up of strengths and weakness. The tricky part is what to believe or not to believe.
One of the most liberating things to ever happen to me was a painful face-to-face criticism from someone. Without a doubt, this person’s intention was to cause me emotional pain to which he was momentarily successful.
The Spirit of God comforted me and revealed to me that the real me was who God said I was. My identity and my worth did not depend upon what anyone thought or said about me; my identity and worth was defined by God. I was in Jesus and Jesus was in me, and that was the most important thing. In thirty-seven years of ministry, this has kept me sane and soberly minded.
Do not believe everything people say about you. It is not all true—the good or the bad. Yet, consider what they say, even your critics, because some of it may be revealing.
Consider most of all what God says about you. He is the ultimate Judge, and we must give an account to Him. I have a lot of Facebook “friends” who could block me at any moment, but I have One God who not only likes me, but He also loves me. He loves you too!
Yours on the Journey,
Harry L. Whitt