In my experience as a pastor for over two decades, I’ve learned many lessons. Here’s the one on my mind today.
A strong, strong, strong, majority of people are people of good will. They will receive you and your story – both the negative and positive aspects – and respond in honest, truthful, loving, supportive and helpful ways. It is important to listen to these people. They can help you understand how the story of your life is being heard by others.
Some people simply don’t give a rip about you. After all, you’re not the center of the world. It’s ok. It’s a gift, really. You do your thing. They will do their thing. It is all good.
Other people are not people of good will. They will receive you and your story – both the negative and positive aspects – and respond in ways that conform to their agenda. They will do this without a second thought. Even if that agenda is hurtful to you. It is important not to listen to these people. You can bend over backwards to correct the false version of your story they are telling. It won’t matter. Why? Because it isn’t about you. You’re story is about them. It’s always about them.
The best you can do is live the story God has called you to live. Live it with integrity. Live it with honesty and transparency. Live it humbly — with a sense that it is God who has called you to live it.
As you live it, however, beware of three equally disruptive mistakes. One is ignoring the people you should be listening to. The second is listening to the people you should be ignoring. The third is chasing after the people that just don’t care. Jesus didn’t even do that….