Have you ever had an interaction with someone that didn’t go so well? I have. In fact, I recently had someone say some pretty unkind things to me. If self-esteem is a tight rope, I get a little wobbly after such interactions. Thankfully, I don’t crash and fall like I used to because of the good work God has done in my life over the last couple of years. God is my rock that steadies me. Hurting people hurt others, and I can have compassion while lovingly detaching myself and not accepting lies that go against God’s truth.
Who do people say I am?
Honestly, there are a lot of people in life that would like to tell me who I am. People love to judge others; I am guilty of doing this too. We make judgments about people’s appearances, their character, their careers, their relationships, their parenting styles. Yet, people are hot and cold. That means if I allow other people to dictate my self-worth, then I may be full of confidence one moment and feel terrible about myself the next.
Jesus had a lot of people saying ridiculous things about Him. Actual religious leaders plotted to kill Him, so you can only imagine what kind of nasty lies they made up about Him. Did Jesus allow what they said or thought about Him to change how He viewed Himself? Certainly not!
There is a part in the Bible (Matthew 16:13-17) where Jesus asks his disciples, “Who do people say I am?” They have a whole list of answers: John the Baptist, a prophet, Elijah, and so on. I can just imagine Jesus scratching his head and saying, “How do people come up with this stuff?”
Who do you say I am?
After this dialogue, Jesus then says, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter says, “You’re the Christ.”
That wasn’t Peter’s opinion, that was a revelation. In Matthew 16:17 (AMP) Jesus says, “Blessed [happy, spiritually secure, favored by God] are you, Simon son of Jonah, because flesh and blood (mortal man) did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.” Jesus was so secure in who He was that He was not shaken by the list of names people called him, their delusions, and false opinions. When he heard the Truth, he was like, BINGO, that’s it! Blessed are you Peter for getting it!
I would love to have that kind of self-understanding. Can you imagine being so confident in who you are that you can not only sift through the lies and the truth with ease but also be unperturbed by what other people think of you?
The things that people say about me can vary too. Some might say I’m a giving person, some might say I’m selfish, some might say I’m too busy, some might say I don’t do enough. Depending on the person, their perception and their motivation, I could be labeled a thousand different ways. But there is only one definition that matters: what God says about me.
God’s View of Me
Jesus knew who He was, and he knew who the Father said He was. I need to follow suit when it comes to figuring out who I am, so that I am not tossed around like a wave based on another person’s perception of me.
So when people, no matter who they are, attack my character or label me because I don’t live up to their expectations, I don’t need to allow this to destroy my self-esteem. My worth comes from God and His love for me, and I need to abide in it. That means I get to rest in confidence in His love.
If God wants to reveal something in my character that needs changed, He will convict me in a loving way. The Bible uses the analogy of pruning, which is careful and precise cutting back to promote growth and health, not coming at the whole vine with an ax. His conviction doesn’t always feel good, but it also doesn’t leave me feeling worthless. So it’s a good indication that if someone is saying things about me that are mean and simply untrue, that it is not from God, and I don’t need listen or accept what they are saying.
Today, I will let go of other people’s opinions when they don’t align with God’s Truth.
I will trust that God will reveal character flaws in love while giving me grace to change.
I can have confidence and self-esteem because of who lives on the inside of me.