One of my favourite songs by Ron Kenoly is “whose report will you believe?” The chorus to the song is “we shall believe the report of the Lord!” I love the song because it challenges us to believe God’s report even when we are surrounded by all sorts of reports from others and from within.
These reports or opinions are often based on what people perceive which may not always be right. Nevertheless opinions often affect us positively or negatively. If a person is regularly told, “you are no good”, “you will amount to nothing”, “you are worthless”, etc., it is only a matter of time before the person starts suffering from low self-esteem and engaging in destructive behaviours. The reverse is the case when a person is regularly praised and complimented.
Just because people have all sorts of opinions about us doesn’t mean we must listen to and believe them. We have to make a determined effort to filter out what we hear, taking in the good and constructive ones, and leaving out the damaging critical ones. This was what happened to David when he chose to ignore his oldest brother’s disparaging comments just before he fought with Goliath in the book of 1Samuel chapter 17:25-32.
As some of you know, David was the youngest son of Jesse and had been anointed king instead of his older brothers earlier on. But even after his anointing, he was still a shepherd, because the time had not come for him to assume his kingship. So on this day while his older brothers and indeed all Israelite men of military age were at the battlefront facing the Philistines, he was tending to his father’s flock. His father asked him to take provisions to his brothers, and so he went, after making sure the flock were cared for by a shepherd.
On getting to the battlefront, he overheard Goliath the giant, taunting the Israelites and insulting their God. The Israelites were naturally scared of this giant who was formidable and none dared to confront him even with all the rewards the king had offered.
As David enquired about the rewards for defeating Goliath, his oldest brother Eliab, who had overhead him became very angry. And this was what he said, "Why have you come down here? And with whom did you leave those few sheep in the wilderness? I know how conceited you are and how wicked your heart is; you came down only to watch the battle."
His anger was clearly unjustified, and his belittling opinion of David was unnecessary. He may have been resentful of the fact that David was anointed king instead of him. Regardless of what provoked that angry outburst, it was done to incite David to lose his cool.
It would have understandable if David got angry and defensive when his brother belittled him and then lied that his heart was wicked. Secondly it would also have been easy for him to believe what his brother said about him. After all Eliab was the oldest son who would take over authority after the death of their father.
Fortunately David knew too much about what God thought of him to become bothered about the disparaging comments of his oldest brother. He clearly ignored him and turned to another person to ask his questions. Because he chose to dwell on God’s opinion of him, he ignored contrary opinions, and rather spent his energy on fighting Goliath, which thrust him into fame.
Like David, we will hear all sorts of opinions about us. We will even have opinions about ourselves. But you have to ask yourself “are these opinions similar to God’s opinions of me?” The Bible says that as a man thinks in his heart, so is he. If the opinions you dwell upon are positive, then you will act positively, but if you harbour negative thoughts, its only a matter of time before you start doing something negative.
What do you think of yourself? Do you see yourself as a failure? Do you think becauseyour parents were not a great example, you too will be a failure? Do you think because many marriages are ending in divorce, yours will follow suit? Do you think you will end up an unmarried bachelor/spinster? Do you think you are ugly just because you don’t look like the models in the magazine? What do you think about yourself?
Regardless of where that negative opinion comes from or how long it has been playing in your head, if it does not align with God’s opinion, then push it out of your head. Just because your mother or father or pastor, or husband or wife, or friend, said something in anger about you does not necessarily make it right. I challenge you to begin to see yourself the way God sees you and to filter out any contrary opinion. Do you want to know some of the opinions God has about you? Well here are a few:
· "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart” - Jeremiah 1:5
· "I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness” - Jeremiah 31:3
· “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
- Jeremiah 29:11
· “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!” - Isaiah 49:15
· “The LORD is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear him” - Psalm 103:13
· “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”
- Philippians 4:13
· “I am fearfully and wonderfully made” – Psalm 139:14
These verses should get you going when negative thoughts or opinions come against you. Remember as a man or woman thinks in his/her heart, so is he/she. Also remember that God loves you unconditionally, no matter how you might feel or what others may say. Make very effort to think right and you will begin to do right and feel right. God's blessings!
Image2 courtesy: http://fairoakskidz.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/12mar_standard_theme.jpg