It is impossible to please everyone. Even Jesus felt the pressure of people-pleasing and it's impossibility when he said, "For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon!’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look at this glutton and drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and of sinners!’ (Matthew 11:18-19a).
No matter what Jesus did, someone had something to say about it. How true is that in our lives today?
As a self-proclaimed people pleaser, this is not a one-and-done lesson. This is something to come back to, because you will have reason to come back to it. As you learn and grow, there will always be someone who thinks you can "do it better." However, often that person isn't the one trying to walk your walk.
It reminds me of mine and the hubby's favorite show. American Ninja Warrior. Oh my goodness we love it. We know the ninjas and their stories, and we have our favorites. We sit on the couch and say things like, "oh that's the wrong grip for the salmon ladder," "They didn't get enough momentum for the warped wall," etc. Yet, last summer when we went to a trampoline park that had a small ninja course, we saw first hand just how intimidating those floating steps are when you are the one standing in front of them.
So what do you do when you know people are stabbing your back instead of having your back? Look to what Jesus said after his exasperated cry in Matthew 11:19, "But wisdom is vindicated by her actions.”
You do you. Be wise, stay the course, and let your actions negate their gossip. You do not need to defend yourself. Stay silent in the storm and do not waste your energy on your own defense. Let actions speak louder than words, and know that God will have your defense. The Holy Spirit will speak into the hearts of those who hear negative about you and guide their judgement.
So in the face of judgement, bias, back stabbing, and the overwhelming opinions of others, take the advice of Theodore Roosevelt, "Speak softly and carry a big stick, you will go far."
Psalm 41:5-6 But my enemies say nothing but evil about me. “How soon will he die and be forgotten?” they ask. They visit me as if they were my friends, but all the while they gather gossip, and when they leave, they spread it everywhere.
Matthew 7:16 You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?
Leviticus 19:18 “‘Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.
1 Peter 2:15 It is God’s will that your honorable lives should silence those ignorant people who make foolish accusations against you
Proverbs 29:11 A fool lets fly with all his temper, but a wise person keeps it back.
Proverbs 10:19 Transgression is at work where people talk too much, but anyone who holds his tongue is prudent
1 Peter 2:23 When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.
Psalm 62:5-6 My soul, wait in silence for God only, For my hope is from Him. He only is my rock and my salvation, My stronghold; I shall not be shaken.