Why is it, there’s always got to be somebody who wants to rain on your parade? You know you step out in a new project… you have a grand idea… you launch a new thought… and then the criticism starts flying. You’re put down, not built up. You’re insulted, not encouraged. You’re beat on instead of helped.
“When Sanballat, the governor of Samaria, heard that we were rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem, he became angry and started insulting our people. In front of his friends and the Samaritan army he said…” Nehemiah 4:1-2a CEV
Well, it doesn’t really matter what he said. The damage was already done. His insults left a black mark all over the people who were trying hard to do something good – rebuild the wall of their city. His words cut to the heart. He didn’t like what they were doing, though it really didn’t effect him in the least bit. But nonetheless, he had a gripe to pick with Nehemiah and those working with him. All it did was put a dark cloud of discouragement over their heads.
It’s so easy these days to have an opinion. But understand this: there’s a difference between having an opinion and being opinionated. We all see things differently, but when you and I push our opinion as the only one that matters, we have crossed the line. Sanballat was opinionated (and that’s just my opinion).
My mom used to tell me, “If you don’t have anything good to say, don’t say anything at all.” (Many of you just finished that sentence with me. Did we have the same mom?) I don’t know who’s the originator of that thought, but it sure seems appropriate today.
We’re told a little later in Nehemiah 4, that when Sanballat and all the other opposers saw the wall of the city going up, “… they became angry and decided to stir up trouble, and to fight against the people…” (4:7-8)
They were relentless. They weren’t going to let up, no matter what. Have you ever had anybody like that in your life? A co-worker who didn’t want you to be promoted? A friend who was always critical? Even as I say that another question crosses my mind – have I ever been like that? Have you? Having an opinion on steroids as if you’re the only one who has the right answer?
Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: When others are trying to keep you from dreaming… from growing… from experiencing… from fulfilling the plans God has given you… do what Nehemiah did, “But we kept on praying to our God, and we also stationed guards day and night.” (4:9) Pray and take the appropriate actions. Keep having a dialog with God and set some guards around your mouth and around your heart to protect them. Don’t let the enemy dissuade or discourage you from all that God has called you to do!
As I cry out to You, hear my prayer. Keep me looking up to You, fulfilling Your plans in my life. In Jesus name I ask this, Amen.
Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen