True story: I had a conversation with a lady some time ago. She told me, with tears in her eyes and tremor in her voice, that her disgruntled ex-boyfriend decided to sprinkle some black powder all over her home in a spiteful attempt to “cast a spell” over her.
She called in to work that day. She was afraid to go back home. The tears. The tremor. Really! Why? Because she believed the words that came out of his mouth. He said the powder had some power, she believed it, and acted as if she believed it.
Now perhaps you would not have the struggle this lady had because you don’t believe in such a thing. I hear you. I felt the same way as I listened. Initially. Then I humbled myself and realized that I may not believe in voodoo and spells cast by ex-boyfriends, but I have certainly responded just as committedly as this lady to claims that were just as foolish as this guy’s.
I remember my first real break-up. He dumped me, y’all! The nerve! I was certain that I would never experience happiness ever again!! I cried. I moped. I hurt. I felt my life was ruined! Forever! Or how about that hurtful unsolicited critique that person offered years ago that still taunts you today? You still struggle with your self image all because of those few words. And we must not deny the lasting effects of that conversation you overheard in which your peers poked fun at you and then came and smiled to your face as if the hypocrisy were not a reality. You felt rejected. Unaccepted. Your heart sank. You gasped. You now look at them differently. You look at yourself differently.
We too have the potential to be impacted by the words or actions of others no matter how foolish, or empty, or rooted in lies they may be. Their message, if received on the right day, at the right time, during the right degree of vulnerability, can have us crying, calling in, and afraid to go home.
What’s the alternative? What are our options?
Here is a thought: What if we decided that there are only two things upon which other’s thoughts, words, or deeds towards us can be based: The truth or the lie. Then we decide that we are only going to believe what’s based on the truth. And once we believe the truth, we will act as if we believe it.
“What is ‘the truth’?” and “What is ‘the lie’?” I’m glad you asked. Here it is:
“…you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” (1Peter 2:9)
|You are acceptable.
ANY thought, word, or deed that suggests otherwise!
|You are capable.
|You are forgiven.
|You are valuable.
Eugene Petersen paraphrases “You are the ones chosen by God… from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted” (1 Peter 2:9-10, The Message). As a priest, you are now capable of going directly to God for yourself and capable of ministering to others. When you come to Christ, you are made holy as your sins are wiped out. And as far as Jesus is concerned, you are the most valued treasure in the entire world.
Once you realize who you are you will carry out your purpose which is to declare the praises of the One who made you all that you are. Then, and only then, will you be able to consider other options when processing the trauma, shock, and pain brought on by the actions or words of another person.
The next time you are dumped, criticized, back-stabbed, or the like, you have the option of embracing and responding to the truth of who you actually are instead of being paralyzed by the lie their actions and your emotions want you to believe you are.
This week, take some time to reflect on a lie you have believed and how you’ve acted as if you believed it. Write it out. Then search the scriptures for a passage that reveals a truth related to the issue. Write it out.
Each time the lie comes to mind, say: “That’s a lie! The truth is _____(quote/read the scripture)______!”
Example: A brotha has nerve enough to come talking about how he has cast a spell on you. You may have a moment of trepidation. Then, Girlfriend, boldly say “That’s a lie! The truth is ‘no weapons formed against me shall prosper’ (Isaiah 54:17). Not to mention, ‘He disarmed the powers and authorities, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross’ (Colossians 2:15). In Jesus’ Name, Amen!”
You are acceptable, capable, forgiven, and valuable. That’s the Truth! All else . . . well, that’s a lie!