Reflections of Chapter 6 in Donald B. Kraybill’s book The Upside-Down Kingdom.
(ISBN 10: 0836192362 or ISBN 13: 978-0836192360)
“Blessed are you when people hate you. Woe to you when all speak well of you.”
I wonder what others think of me. I wonder if what I said in a class discussion or in a conversation was thought to be intelligent or dumb, funny or lame. I wonder what others say when I am not around. I wonder if I should speak of spiritual things with my coworkers or just leave it shallow and superficial. This worries me because the scripture says it is better to fear God than to fear man.
Where do I find my worth? The world says that to be worth anything you must dress, speak, and act how it says you should. My old pastor has asked many times, “Why do we buy stuff with money we don’t have to impress people we don’t even like?” If you resist being caught in this trap then you are a fish out of water. If you decide to stay in the water you have no choice but to swim against the flow or be swept down stream. How can we fight a current this strong? If I am always fighting then when do I rest? If I tire out then isn’t failure inevitable? Perhaps but it isn’t final.
When people speak well of you there is a sense of pride that comes with it. There is a passage that says, God resists the proud and gives grace to the humble. It reminds me of the story Jesus tells of the publican and the tax collector. Each went to the temple to speak to God. The publican said, “Thank you God that I am not like this tax collector.” The tax collector beat his chest and cried out, “God forgive me. I am a sinner.” Whose prayer did God hear?
When people speak well of you there is also a sense of security that comes with it. Without this security blanket the world often feels cold and uncaring. There is another passage that says God draws close to the broken hearted. I wonder if being spoken well of by men results in being far from God.
I am still learning but I think I am getting closer. However, the more I learn the more I realize that I don’t know and how far I still have left to travel.