It sounds obvious, and therefore simple, so it should be easy to implement. I don’t have to defend my character. God can take care of that.
So I just stop, right? Or even better, I don’t start. I don’t have to make someone realize what a great person I am. God can take care of that.
Oh, wait. That’s not what He said. He didn’t say he’d convince my adversary of anything, did He? He didn’t say we’d be at peace. Did he? He didn’t say that at all. Wait a minute.
He said I would be what? Persecuted? OK, but this isn’t that. My life’s not at stake. My family’s not being tortured or killed. I’m not on the run. So I don’t need to call this “persecution.”
Oh, gee. Hold on. Let me get this straight.
I don’t have to defend my character because . . . I am a sinner, and I have no character.
Alright, let that sink in for a while. Just sitting here breathing.
But He’s made me new, right? And I’m His, right? And I’m trying really, really hard to do what He says, right?
Then I hear him speak: Be still.
I have no character. All my works are as filthy rags. Ok, wait. Gosh. You mean even when I’m trying . . . really, REALLY hard? Aw, gee.
Mmph. Keeping my mouth shut, trying to listen.
Ok, so . . .
– Not yet.
My goodness, I’m like a bug in a mud puddle. I keep wiggling and paddling and trying to get out of here. You aren’t going to help me unless I get still, are You?
– I can’t help you unless you get still, dear one.
And I guess all my work is just muddying the water, huh?
He smiles, and the twinkle in His eye reminds me that He adores me, and I remember that He loves me enough to lay down His life for me – and that He did just that.
So I don’t have to defend my character. So when someone says, “I’ve known Christians like you before . . . ” and spits out the word, “Christians,” as if it’s a vile curse . . . or when someone who doesn’t know my whole picture, who doesn’t know all I’m defending, accuses me of lying . . . or when someone implies that I am failing at the one thing on this earth I’m trying hardest to do right . . .
Gee, I could have saved a lot of money on blood pressure medicine and doctor’s visits if I’d heard this earlier.
– Were you listening?
I talk too much, don’t I?
– I love you.
I’ll stop trying to deserve that. OK?
He smiles that way that wraps all the way around me, even to the tight place at the back of my neck where I get sore because I’m so stiff-necked in my self-righteousness.
– Be still and know that I am God.
I need to pay more attention to what that means. Every single word of it.