At a church where I once served I was loved and hailed as the minister who “looked like Superman and preached like Billy Graham.” But when serving another church I was told by someone in authority that no one liked me and I was a terrible preacher.
At another time I served in a business leadership position where I was generally reviled and dismissed as a fraud by the people I served. Yet following that experience in an almost identical position in another company I was treated with great respect and appreciation for my contributions.
On a personal level, I was once told by someone that they couldn’t stand to be around me. And yet a close friend told me recently that I should teach a class on friendship because of the true friendship I’ve shown him over the years.
The truth is, I’ve been pretty much the same person through all these experiences. Not as great as some people have believed, not as bad as others have thought. As I pondered these things earlier today it occurred to me that the way people treat other people often says more about them than the person receiving the treatment.
That was certainly true of Jesus. He came as the embodiment of love and grace. He healed the sick, raised the dead, and comforted the hurting. Many loved him in return. Yet the Scripture also says he was “despised and rejected by men.”
So if you’re going through a season of abuse when people are treating you badly or saying hurtful things to you or about you, don’t rush to take it too seriously. Sometimes it’s not about you.