“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
As a person who makes a living by public speaking, it is always amazing to me what people will do with the words I speak. It reminds me of Psalm 56.
When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.
In God, whose word I praise—
in God I trust and am not afraid.
What can mere mortals do to me?
All day long they twist my words;
all their schemes are for my ruin.
They conspire, they lurk,
they watch my steps,
hoping to take my life.
Many of us have felt the sting of people distorting what we say without caring enough about us personally to have a humble conversation about anything. And even for those who do want to “talk,” they only want to prove why their perspective is right and ours is wrong. It feels like the most undervaluing thing we could experience.
This is a reality of life. No matter how hard we try to cover our bases, people are going to take what we said and turn it into something we didn’t say. It is just the way it is.
Over time, it is easy to decide to risk less in relationship. It’s safer to keep our convictions to ourselves or let go of them altogether. After all, if you can’t trust them with those words, what about the deeper stuff? You should not trust them with that, either. They often act as if they don’t care about what they are doing to trample the soul of another human being.
To bare your soul to another, only to have them throw it on the ground and stomp on it verbally until there is nothing left, is one of the most relationally debilitating things we can experience.
The Rabbis have an interesting way of dealing with this that I think is helpful. When people twist, distort, manipulate, or use what you said against you, begin to dance. Don’t be mad — you have an opportunity for God to show Himself in your life as you work through the hurt while maintaining the determination to treat the other person well. That should cause you to dance. God is going to show up and you are going to know Him better after this is all over.
Oh, we should definitely deal with the conversation appropriately, but deal with the conversation joyfully. You are about to know God more. That is a precious gift being given to you.
The next time someone takes their brokenness out on you, or distorts your words, or tries to diminish the message God has placed on your soul: may you break into dancing. May you freak them out with joy over the chance to know Him more. And may you never forget that when you have your words twisted and distorted, you have joined elite company.