At the playground I had a contest with a 5-year-old to see who could climb up the sliding board faster. Between you and me, I didn't try hard, and the little tyke says he won. Just for good measure, he informed me that I'm not very good at climbing.
It didn't bother me at all. It wouldn't have bothered you either. Why? Because the person trashing your talents is 3 feet tall and wet behind the ears. You consider the source. His opinion does not put a dent in your self-image.
What I am proposing this morning is that we be as relaxed with the opinions of 5- and 6-foot-tall Homo sapiens as with those of the kindergarten crowd. The Lord considers it as silly to be upset about what tall people think as about what small people think:
"Stop regarding man in whose nostrils is breath, for of what account is he?" (Isaiah 2:22)
To be sure, if someone points out my fault, I should repent if the shoe fits. But then I should move on, my self-image intact: I am a child of a King.
Living is hard enough every day (Matthew 6:34) without dragging a ball and chain behind me. But how to do this? I am discovering that the only answer is to love. Love is the only way to be happy. Love is the only way to travel light, to journey through life with no extra baggage. Here are some of the things I can do if I believe God has forgiven me and loves me, and I obey His command to love:
- I can be free from my past, no matter how bad it is.
- I can be free from the gnawing of regret.
- I can expect good things in the land of the living.
- I can apologize, rather than waiting for the other person to apologize first.
- I can forgive, and receive forgiveness.
- I can take risks in relationships and invite someone out for lunch who may reject me.
- I can be free from the control of other people's "stuff."
- I can be free from the control of my own desires.
- I can make mistakes and not despair.
- I can expect to change and become more like Christ.
Knowing God loves me is better than money in the bank. And His command to love, which in my folly I thought would be burdensome, turns out to be my deliverance.