Why Are They Talking About Me?

It is spooky when you walk into a room and friends say, “We were just talking about you!” Instantly you are on your guard.

Sometimes you get the feeling that the people talking about you are not your friends. You enter a room and the conversation dies. Either their eyes don’t meet yours or they try to stare you out of the room so they can get back to ripping you apart.

Why do people do it? Either you are very interesting to them (unlikely), you are envied by them so they want to take you down a notch or two (perhaps), or they derive malicious pleasure from jerking people’s chains, and you are the topic of the day.

It’s going to happen. King David once lamented, “With words of hatred they surround me; they attack me without cause (Psalm 109:3).” There was a lot of talking behind Jesus’ back, talk that led to his betrayal and execution. So people are going to talk about you.

The question is, what are you going to do about it?

If they are interested in you, they will, once they get over their shyness in being around such an wonderful person, come out of their shells and talk to you. Talk to them first. Life is too short to wait.

If they are envious, don’t worry. Nothing they can say will affect who you are and what you do.

If you are the target of the day, turn the other cheek and ignore them. That’s what Jesus did. He had more important things to do than worry what they were saying about him. He had a world to save and he did it. He can give you the power to live above those who talk behind your back.

But I Need It!

Appetite is a good thing. Without it, you die. But appetite can also be a bad thing because with it sometimes we eat too much and get heavy and slow and have heart attacks.

An appetite for things is also not wrong. There is nothing wrong with a stroll through a grocery store looking for things we need for our lives. But appetite can get out of control, even in a grocery store.

This danger is exemplified by the statement, “But I need it!” With this appetite in view, God warns, “For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever” (1 John 2:16,17).

There are things that we absolutely need. We need food and clothes and shelter and air to breathe. There are many other things like that we need, which our Father in heaven wants us to have to sustain our lives and our happiness. But these things are not the most important things that we need. Jesus talked one day to two friends of his in their home. Martha thought getting supper and getting the house cleaned were things that she “needed” to do. Mary on the other hand thought she needed to sit at Jesus’ feet and listen to him. Jesus said, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:41).

Our Father in heaven says to us, “So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:31-33).

That makes it simple. To the statement “But I need it!” there is a Godly response. Only one thing is needed. Please don’t think that is too simple. When the world passes into oblivion and we stand at God’s judgment throne Jesus will be all that we need. To know Jesus as the only one who provides good for us in this world and the next is the only thing we need.

There are things we need. We truly do. Body and soul need things. Our challenge when faced with the statement “But I need it!” is to know what God says we need.

He will always be right, and, insofar as we listen to him, so will we.

Enemies

Do you have enemies? Join the club! If you think it’s possible to live life without enemies, you are only fooling yourself.

Jesus lived a perfect life, but he still had enemies. People were constantly plotting to discredit and kill him. Matthew 10:36 says that in some cases “a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.”

It is still good to avoid making enemies.Romans 12:18 says, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”

But the real question is what to do with enemies once you’ve got them. The Bible is clear on that too. Jesus teaches his followers, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:44); “do good to those who hate you” (Luke 6:27).

How is that possible? Don’t human beings naturally fight back when they are attacked?

The only time you will have the strength to love your enemies is when you are still secure despite being attacked. The only way to have perfect security is to get it from Jesus himself.

Jesus had many human enemies, but because he loved them, he defeated the most menacing enemies that all humans face: sin, death and the devil. Jesus defeated sin for us by refusing to sin in the face of temptation (Hebrews 4:15). He defeated death for us by rising from the dead (1 Corinthians 15:54-57). By his perfect life and his rising from the dead, he defeated the devil for us as well (Hebrews 2:14, 15).

What Jesus did in our place gives us security. It gives us peace. The love he showed us is the only love strong enough to give us the desire and the ability to love our enemies.

Do you have enemies? We all do! Now you have the opportunity to reflect the love of Jesus in your life, also and especially to your enemies.

Who is my neighbor?

“Love your neighbor as yourself,” Jesus once said. But who is your neighbor? Good question.

Someone once asked Jesus that question (Luke 10:29). He responded by telling the story of a traveler who was mugged. Two “respectable” members of the local ethnic majority passed him by on the side of the road. But a third passer-by, a member of a despised ethnic minority, stopped, helped the traveler, and paid for his hospitalization (Luke 10:30-35).

Who was the real neighbor? The one who showed mercy (Luke 10:36,37).

Kind of scary, huh? Do you have to stop for every roadside wreck now in order to be sure of going to heaven?

There is no person alive who has treated his or her neighbors perfectly. Everyone has some selfishness in them. Do we have any hope of heaven?

Not on our own. But there is someone who has treated all of his neighbors perfectly. That person is Jesus. He never sinned once. Everything he did was for other people, not for himself. When it came time to die, Jesus could have chosen not to. But in a last, unselfish act, he died in our place to take the punishment for all of the times we have neglected our neighbors.

Even today, when Jesus sees us mugged on the road of life, he stops, helps us, and reminds us that he has paid the price for us to go to heaven. He has made us more than just his neighbors; he has made us his children.

Who is your neighbor? Jesus. Be glad!