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Do you ever worry about what people might be saying about you? The great preacher C.H. Spurgeon once told his pastoral students: “I have one blind eye and one deaf ear and they are the best ear and eye that I have.” That counsel was based on Ecclesiastes 7:21-22 “Do not take to heart all the things that people say, lest you hear your servant cursing you. Your heart knows that many times you yourself have cursed others.”
All those in any way in the public eye get all manner of things said about them. Some positive and some negative. And even as private people we may or may not be privy to something said about us – even as others may or may not be privy to what we may have said about them at any given time. Things we might hope would never be repeated in their hearing as having come from us.
And in this day of social media – an incautious and hasty word about someone might get launched into cyber-space, never to be recovered.
Now we cannot spend all of our time worrying about what other people might say about us. That’s obvious. Nor should we. Learning to use our deaf ear and our blind eye might be the very best way to maintain relationships. Everyone slips once and a while. Best to let it go.
And yet one text before us today out of Isaiah 32–35; Luke 19:41–44; Psalm 119:145–152 and Proverbs 27 asks us to think about it at least in one regard. That is found in Hebrews 13:1–19.
I’m Reid Ferguson, and we’ll talk about that today on Through the Word in 2020.
So the question arises, should we ever be concerned about what others might think or say about me? After all, isn’t it only God’s opinion that counts?
Yes, and no.
Any number of passages throughout the Word speak to doing or refraining from things that are shameful both before God, and the community of Believers. When Paul calls out sexual immorality in Corinth he says he does so “to your shame.” And in Ephesians 5 we are told some things are shameful just to talk about. This, in the context of life with other Christians.
Then on the other hand, we ultimately stand only before God to give an answer for our sins. So in that Day, what anyone else thinks is irrelevant.
Then we read something like –Hebrews 13:17 ESV
“Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.”
And it raises a fascinating question for each of us to ponder: When your pastors or leaders in the Church pray about you, speak to God about you – do they do it with joy, or grief? And are we aware that such reports – if they are negative are of no “advantage” to us? In other words, there are actual consequences to us when our leaders groan about us before God. What those are, the text does not say. It should be enough that it says it. What they think about us and report back to the Father counts.
To be honest, for most of my Christian life, I haven’t given this reality too much thought. I fear to my own loss. Those who have shepherded my soul in years past have no doubt shed some tears and expressed anxiety over my growth, lack thereof, sins, attitudes and decisions.
I would simply ask you today to consider this reality for your own life in Christ. How do those who keep watch over your soul give an account to the Great Shepherd?
And, it makes me wonder how the Great Shepherd Himself gives an account to the Father regarding me?
It’s really worth considering.
God willing, we’ll be back Monday.