Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe. Proverbs 29:25 NIV

As I pulled into my driveway, my heart sank with heaviness.  I could almost feel the judgmental stares of my neighbor who glared at me from her yard.  It bothered me that she didn’t even really know me, yet so openly judged me.  Caught up in gossip, she had formed an opinion of me based solidly on lies.

I desperately wanted to run across the street shout “You don’t know me!  Really, I’m a good person.  I’m a good, caring, and kind mom.  How can you give lies so much weight without knowing me?”  I’ll be honest, more than wanting her as a friend; I just wanted to be accepted.  Couldn’t I say something to make her like me?  She was after all, my new neighbor.

Weighed down by her judgment while still unsure how to approach the situation, I prayed for guidance.  I hoped God would impart divine wisdom or words that would perfectly clear everything up.  Truly, I never expected His answer.

“How do I defend myself?” I asked.

“You don’t,” He replied. “You don’t.  Instead live to demonstrate your character and she will either see it or she won’t.  Your worth does not come from her opinion of you; it comes from me, your Heavenly Father.”

Say nothing sounded so simple yet incredibly challenging at the same time.  I needed to push through my feeling of wanting my neighbor to like me or approve of me.  It’s such an easy trap to slide into.  We want other people to like us or to validate us.  We think that somehow that our worth is impacted by what they think about us.

Giving in to their opinions of us is a trap, it’s a snare.  Instead, we need to gain our sense of worth knowing the incredible price that God paid just to be in a relationship with us.  We can be freed from the gossip, slander, and opinions of the people around us.

As for my neighbor, she never did change, however the weight of her opinion evaporated.  God’s love and grace filled the space were condemnation once tried to take root.  Now, I’m truly free.  You can be too!

Has your sense of self worth been impacted (good or bad) by the opinions of people in your life?  Ask God to free you from that trap and replace those value statements with His love and grace.

Dear Heavenly Father, please help us to see our value through you and not the words, actions, or opinions of those around us. Guard our hearts from the trap of human opinion and judgment. Free our steps from running to defend ourselves, rather strengthen us to defend you - however you call us to do so.

Susan Call

Writer, Speaker, and Author

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