Listening to Pharell the other day (yup…I enjoy “Skateboard P” at times), one of his lines in his song said “You don’t know me.” I chuckled. I chuckled because his song as a whole was about reaching your dreams, grinding, and sticking to your guns–regardless of what the naysayers say. We often say “you don’t know me” as a defensive stance; as an attempt to counter someone else’s perception of us. And sometimes, we speak it out of the frustration that others can’t see ALL of you. Many want to focus on the “you” that fell short…or even the “you” that rose too high.
How do you handle the harsh criticism from those who seemingly know you the best? From those that should, by default, have your back? How do you get them to see what others see in you everyday?
This morning, I was reminded that even my Savior, Jesus, encountered this phenomenon. In Mark 6, Jesus decided to go back to his hometown. Being the “G” that He is (G for God, that is), He taught, He healed, He instructed (the usual). Many were amazed…and yet their amazement turned into judgment and hate.
Isn’t he just a carpenter?
Don’t we know his momma and dem?
So what the heck makes him so special?
“Jesus said to them:
Only in his hometown, among his relatives and in his own house is a prophet without honor.” Mark 6:4.
Those close in proximity and relativity will always have your past as a reference. In short, Pookie and Rae-Rae are always going to remember you “way back when.” Maybe they will appreciate the transformation…maybe not. But we are all set-up in this world to have adversity–and often that opposition is much closer to you than you think. And often, the negative accounts and energy of those closest to you is deemed “true” and “credible” because the world assumes that everyone on your childhood block, your college buddies, fraternity and sorority sisters, and past boy/girlfriend know you the best.
But guess what? THAT’S GREAT!!! Your testimony is THAT MUCH stronger every time some one from your past tries to harm or shame you using your past material or spiritual poverties. One thing Jesus did NOT do was respond to the self that OTHERS knew of Him. The reality is, we all have things in our past that others were a witness of. I like to think those things–while at times hurtful to remember–keep us grounded and humble. But once you start living in your NOW, don’t fall into the temptation of trying to justify your yesterdays. In everything you do, give glory to GOD for all He has brought you through. And keep it moving.
As a final note, even though Jesus knew His home would not receive Him, that did not stop Him from going back. Do not let your ministry falter because you are afraid to face those from your “way back when.” Now I am not saying go to every homecoming, former club, or old high school. I am simply saying two things:
1) If you are led to go to a former place–GO…even if it brings discomfort. Your service is onto God…not man. Look at yourself as scientific proof that there MUST be a God to save YOU. (and realize that what they hate is the SAINTHOOD in your life…not the SINNER they were used to).
2) Limit your expectations. After all your sacrifices, you may still be the one that no one saves in a burning house. And realize that the enemy specializes in hardening hearts, especially when broken vessels still pour into the lives of others through the power of Jesus Christ. Humbly approach all your steps knowing that your life may be thrown back at you. Don’t let that stop the God in you.
Sometimes the only person that will clap for your goodness is the invisible clap from your Heavenly Father. We all need to get used to serving the audience of ONE.
Anyone who knows me knows that I despise the “haters are your motivators” sermons (my ears literally shut down when I hear it). But that is not to say that there aren’t any lessons we can glean from those who choose not to accept the newness in your life.
Get used to saying “You Don’t Know Me Man,” without feeling like you have to prove who you are to others. Craig from college may see you as a “drunk,” but that child in Idaho sees you as the one who took time to get her a gift during Christmas time. Keisha, your high school rival, sees the “loose girl,” but a family in Haiti sees your “loose change” every time you donate hospital supplies. And even after you help Craig and Keisha, their views may not change…but that’s ok. Aim not to change the reputation of yourself; aim to change the RELATIONSHIP of another with God.
(my prayer: hide me Lord & do You)