I’ve learned that its not a good idea to listen to what people say about you. People, even people who love us, may say things that are not always complimentary. Its part of human nature. Even people we care about and who care about us, may say things that aren’t aways complimentary, and listening to what they may have said about us will only hurt our feelings and possibly damage a good relationship. Ecclesiastes 10:20 says, “Do not curse the king, even in your thought;
Do not curse the rich, even in your bedroom; For a bird of the air may carry your voice, And a bird in flight may tell the matter.” We would all do better to keep our mouths shut, but its not our nature. It can be just as bad to believe everything we hear, or everything that is said, as saying it.
They truth is, everyone by nature is somewhat critical. Nobody leads such a life that they have no detractors ever. Wisdom is in realizing that not everyone who says the wrong thing is our enemy, and even if they said the wrong thing, it doesn’t mean that they don’t love us. I have dear friends who have said they thought I did something stupid behind my back. Maybe it was stupid, and maybe it wasn’t. They didn’t want to get into an argument with me, maybe because they cared about me and didn’t want to hurt my feelings. They didn’t want to get into a fight about it, but they still didn’t like it. Thats part of what friendship does. It knows we do dumb things, but accepts us anyway.
When I hear that someone said something that was uncomplimentary about me, I really don’t know the context or the intent. It would be wrong to act on what I heard, even if it was painful to me, because I didn’t hear it, and don’t know if what was reported was reported accurately, or their intent. It wouldn’t be fair to the person who allegedly made the comment. Being a friend means giving someone the benefit of the doubt. If I think it’s true that they said it, I’m supposed to go to them and discuss it with them. When I assume they did say it without talking to them, I am presuming them to be guilty, when they may not be. Doing the right thing is to give a friend the benefit of the doubt. It also means recognizing the ones through whom we heard these things may have had good intentions.
I recently heard that someone I love and care about said some unkind things. I was deeply hurt, and the person who told me had only good intentions, but as I thought about it, because they are my valued friends, I gave them the benefit of the doubt. Maybe they didn’t mean it. Sometimes we say things to be funny or to express an opinion without thinking our words may hurt people. We can get upset and have an argument, or we can forgive. I choose to forgive, and I can only hope when I say things I don’t really mean, that people will forgive me.
The truth is, even though I love God, I offend Him every day of my life. I make stupid decisions and say foolish things that don’t reflect my greater values or how I really feel. I try to do better, but I’m so far from perfect; yet God forgives me. I try to do the same for His children. I learned to forgive because I have been forgiven of much.