Reflections On Psalm 15

 

IMG_2517Have you ever had someone twist your words around and completely distort the meaning of what you wanted to convey?

Have you ever had someone come right out and boldly speak an untruth about you?

Have you ever had someone make perceptions about you that were so far from what you were truly feeling in your heart that it made you want to scream and shake your fist and defend yourself?

Don’t you hate it when the enemy comes against you with negativity and attacks you with falsehood?

“People are much deeper than stereotypes. That’s the first place our minds go. Then you get to know them and you hear their stories, and you say, ‘I’d have never guessed.’ -Carson Kressley

I love that.

I spent much of my early years trying to prove to others that I was somebody besides the girl with the fake eye. From the day those mean, cruel boys taunted me at the community swimming pool calling me ‘false-eyed’ in front of God and everybody, I’ve had to fight off feeling ‘less than’.

In this hearing-seeing world where I don’t hear and see like most people around me, I’ve had to fight off stereotypes.

I’ve been called a snob because I didn’t answer someone who tried to carry on a conversation with me while they were talking to my back. And what is that, anyway? How can you carry on a conversation with anyone’s backside? I ask you.

I’ve been called stuck up because I didn’t respond to someone who called my name when I wasn’t looking at them. And what is wrong with that picture? Are we so lazy that we can’t walk 10 feet to speak to someone without yelling at them across the room? I ask you.

I’ve been called ditzy…dumb blonde…flighty…because I don’t always understand everything that’s said to me or I completely misinterpret what’s been said.

It used to hurt like crazy.

But now…now I know that those who think such things really don’t have the whole picture. They don’t know my story.

And my story is one of those I’d-have-never-guessed-renditions. If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard that line…

I’d have never guessed you were hearing impaired. Your hair hides your hearing aids and you talk so well.

I’d have never guessed you had a fake eye. It looks so real.

I’d have never guessed you felt ‘less than’. You seem so happy and confident. 

Bwahahahahaha….

If people only knew.

In Psalm 15, David points out a few things about the man who may dwell in God’s sanctuary…

He whose walk is blameless…

He who does what is righteous…

He who speaks the truth from his heart…

He who has no slander on his tongue…

He who does his neighbor no wrong…

He who casts no slur on his fellowman…

He who despises a vile man…

He who honors those who fear the Lord…

He who keeps his oath even when it hurts…

He who lends his money without usury…

He who does not accept a bribe against the innocent…

First, the Wow.

Then, the Ouch.

Is he talking to me? (Yup. Me, too.)

Basically, David is saying we’re called to do good things to and for others and one of these things is to have a right understanding of the way we see or perceive others. To have moral integrity in how we relate to our fellow man such as this…

…he who does what is right (this would include taming our tongues)…

…speak the truth from your heart (this would include lining our attitudes with that of the Lord’s since most of our hurtful words come from attitudes like anger, resentment, bitterness, prejudice, etc, etc)…

…do not slander (this would include speaking only the truth about others and NOT twisting words or speaking words from false perceptions; one of the original definitions refers to slander as a crime, people!)…

…do your neighbor no wrong (this would include not speaking ill of them; I’m thinking gossip, too, friends!)…

…cast no slur on your fellow man (this would include purposely leaving out specific details about something to cast a different light on a situation; maybe in anger against someone with the intent of hurting their reputation or justifying your anger)…

…and all this goes back to lining our attitude up with the attitude of the Lord’s because David writes,

“…honor those who fear the Lord…”

It’s hard to honor those who fear the Lord if you don’t first honor and fear Him yourself.

Remaining loyal to God by knowing Him, growing in the knowledge of Him, and striving to walk in His ways, will give us a greater understanding of His heart for people. For the people of God in David’s biblical time this kind of knowing came by drawing near, by seeking God in His sanctuary because the sanctuary was where the Presence of God dwelt.

God doesn’t show favoritism. He doesn’t prefer one set of people over another. He’s all-inclusive. In our present time, all are welcome in His sanctuary…all are welcome on His holy hill. Not everyone accepts the invitation to come, but if they did, they’d all be welcome.

It isn’t our “job” to judge. It isn’t our “job” to cast blame. It isn’t our “job” to label or point fingers.

Sometimes I lack understanding in my heart about so many things. I lack passion to do so many things. Sometimes I lack the wisdom and discernment to know the will of God. And when I do, I know I’m the one who needs to check my own heart. I need to look within myself.

I need God to grace me and flood me with the compassion that can only come from Him so that I can grace others and flood them with the same comfort He gives me, but unless I spend time with people and get to know them, how am I ever going to know their stories?

This is at the heart of the Gospel and this is the Gospel in action…

…to love the Lord with all my heart so that His love flows through me and I can love my neighbor as myself.

Without twisted words and distorted meanings.

Without untruths and misguided perceptions.

Without negativity and falsehood.

With the right attitude–the kind that lines up with that of God’s–we can love others. We can do for others. We can speak truth to and about others.

We can. 

Because those in Christ Jesus are a sanctuary for the Holy Spirit and His Spirit will compel us. Enable us. Equip us. Empower us.

In these present times, when so many are struggling to stay afloat, striving to stand firm, straining to step wisely, it’s easy to label. It’s easy to misinterpret. It’s easy to relate to others through misguided perceptions.

You don’t have to be severely hearing impaired or blind in one eye to be stereo-typed, but sometimes I think we all have trouble seeing and hearing with a proper perspective. We don’t always see and hear with Kingdom eyes–with the eyes of our heavenly Father– but I believe we can. 

We can.

Because Scripture tells us we can:

“Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade men. What we are is plain to God, and I hope it is also plain to your conscience. We are not trying to commend ourselves to you again, but are giving you an opportunity to take pride in us, so that you can answer those who take pride in what is seen rather than in what is in the heart. 

If we are out of our mind, it is for the sake of God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all and therefore all died. And He died for all that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died for them and was raised again.

So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”  2 Corinthians 5:11-17 (bold italics are mine)

I think it’s so cool that David ends Psalm 15 with these words,

He who does these things will never be shaken…

This is why I can fight off the words of those who don’t have the whole picture, who don’t know my story. I can fight off feeling ‘less than’.

When people make false assumptions about me I know they’re not really looking into my heart, but because I know the sufficiency of grace and the power of the Gospel, I can look into their hearts through the lens of this grace. I can give it because it’s been given to me by the One who is Grace.

So, whenever anyone says to me after they hear my story, “If you hadn’t told me, I’d have never guessed,” I can confidently say, “And that, my friend, is what Grace is all about.” 

#thepowerofgrace #gracesufficient #nomoremisperceptions #iamnotalabel #iaminchrist #toseewithkingdomeyes #loveyourneighborasyourself #positivewords #speaktruth

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