Tools of the Trade–Mirrors or Hammers?

On the heels of an amazingly extravagant weekend celebrating my daughter’s 5th birthday came blowing in the whirlwind of rejection. Don’t get me wrong—our weekend in Disneyland and California was fantastic; wonderful memories were created and I’m sure my daughter will remember it for the rest of her life–as will I. But the joy was tainted by a letter of “rejection” received just a few moments ago. And while I knew this was a possibility, and it’s not the first “rejection” I’ve received, it stings nonetheless.

Satan uses one rejection to bring up memories of others—people rejection, publisher rejection, performance rejection…etc. Feelings of rejection began early in my childhood. I was a heavy kid with bad acne so the attention I got was not the kind I wanted. I learned how to be a people pleaser very early so I could receive at least some positive reinforcement. Everyone likes to be happy, right? So I went out of my way to help the people around me be happy. It’s what I wished someone would have done for me.

All weekend long I had been thinking about a recent “people-rejection” situation in my life. I prayed over it continually and asked God to help me move past it. Just as I was getting “over it” I received a letter of rejection from a publishing company. Another gut blow.

Satan uses people and circumstances in our lives to assault us with a common “theme”. The theme assaulting me throughout my life is “you are rejected” and “you are not loved”. Even though I do my best to “live peaceably with all men”, trying  to recognize and acknowledge my faults, apologizing, trying to make amends, and continuing to encourage others, I find I am still misunderstood more often than not. My intentions are questioned and my motives are doubted. Through all of this is the same message, “you’re not good enough and nothing you do or say ever will be good enough”.  Over the years these feelings catapulted me into severe depression, physical self-abuse, and even attempted suicides.

I have since learned to ask God to show me how to deal with these feelings biblically (What can I learn? How can I allow God to change me through this situation?). I also ask God to prevent me from being used as an instrument of negativity in someone else’s life, because we are all being assaulted with a message from our Enemy. I do not want to be used by Satan to deliver a message to someone that they are not good enough, loved or appreciated, or whatever the message may be. I realize that many times I have been this “tool” and I continually ask God to open my eyes and eliminate these occurrences from my life.

Perhaps God is calling you to the same area of self-examination. You see an individual  or think of them and immediately have unpleasant thoughts. Maybe you think they’re out to get you, out to hurt you, or that they’ve rejected you. If you feel this way you may be dealing with un-forgiveness. Ask God to help you deal with these people as He would have; treating them as you wish they would treat you (Matthew 5-7).

And if you are battling rejection either relationally or circumstantially, ask God to help you deal with those feelings biblically. It may be tempting to retaliate against such people—wanting them to feel the way they make you feel by ignoring them, sending hate mail, “unfriending” them from social media and the like, but there is a reason God has allowed it and you will never grow spiritually in that area if you pretend like it isn’t a problem. When we fail to see people (or circumstances) through the eyes of Jesus, we will likely face similar situations again and again until we learn to deal with them appropriately. God never gives up on us or teaching us His ways, and I am thankful for that even if it hurts!

Whatever you are feeling today, whatever messages your Enemy has tried to send you or use you to send others, God wants to help you recognize and combat them with His word of truth. If no one else ever understands or accepts you, God does. He will never leave you, forsake you, reject you, misunderstand you, or ignore you.

So, the next time you’re tempted to react a certain way, ask God if you’re being His tool, or a tool of the Enemy in that situation or person’s life. What messages are you delivering with your words and actions? I recently read something and it’s a good thought to end on:

“If my life was the only source of God someone was introduced to, what conclusions would that person make of God’s character based on my reflection of Him?”

In other words, is my God a God who rejects, withholds love, criticizes, assumes the worst, and condemns, or is my God a God who forgives unconditionally, displays compassion, and gives grace? Am I a hammer or a mirror?

“The Lord is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion.” Psalm 116:5

“In the same way, let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16

 

Mirror Mirror

“All your commands are
trustworthy.” Psalm 119:86-NIV

Mirror Mirror

“You are what you
eat,” or so the saying goes. Our bodies tend to reflect the choices we make in
life, and that often goes to our detriment. Our skin reflects too much sun
exposure, our body mass index reflects too much donut exposure, our frown
wrinkles reflect years of bitterness and angst, our energy levels often reflect
our activity levels…and on it goes.

In much the same way
the Bible is a reflection of God’s character. It is God’s mirror, divinely
designed for us to gaze into and capture a glimpse of the heart of an almighty
sovereign God.

“Your laws are true.”
Psalm 119:142

“The statutes you
have laid down are righteous.” Psalm 119:138

“Your word is a lamp.”
Psalm 119:105

“Your instructions
are…valuable.” Psalm 119:72

This is just the
surface of Psalm 119 and the heart of God himself. We read these words and
automatically assume we’re talking about the word of God, and we are, but when
we’re talking about God’s word we’re also talking about the character of the Author!

Faithful

Righteous

True

Dependable

Sweet

Eternal

Guiding

Teaching

Priceless

If you own a Bible,
then you own a priceless mirror of the image and character of the holiest of
Holies, and you have the utmost privilege to pour over the pages and know your creator! How could you not
fall in love with Him and his words as the Psalmist clearly has done? The more
you focus on His perfect reflection through his words, the more attractive he
becomes, and the more you want to know.

He is truly
captivating, as is every word he breathed for us.

Prayer

Jesus, how grateful I am for the gift of your
word! The privilege I have of gazing into your heart whenever I want is a
treasure I often don’t take advantage of. Continue to develop your character in
my life and help me to fall in love with you more every day as I become a
mirror of your life to those around me