Listen to the Right Voice

My husband and I will be speaking at our church this upcoming Sunday morning, so this past week we've been preparing and putting the final touches on our message. I've loved merging our talents and working together.

Meanwhile, this past week I've also had several encounters that have made me legitimately question my aptitude as a parent and a human, encounters that would make me question whether I'm the right person to be entrusted with a microphone and an audience for 30 minutes.

This morning as I was reviewing my message notes, I added this sentence in the margins:
Listen to what God is saying to you and about you, not what a critic is saying, even if that critic is yourself.
As soon as I wrote this, I remembered a painful and complex situation that I was involved in multiple years ago where a person I trusted denigrated my character and questioned my motives. My conscience had been clear about the situation, but the more I dwelt on the accusations (and, friends, I dwelt on them heavily), the more I wondered if they were true, if I really was the awful person who was being described.

After months of miserably grappling with the situation, I finally had an epiphany: If this person's accusations against me were wrong, it was going to be okay because God is my defender. The accusations wouldn't hold.  (Psalm 37:6 says "He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.")  But even if the accusations were accurate, it would still be okay because God was my forgiver. He would cleanse me, forgive me, and restore me. He's a God who specializes in making all things new, so even if they were legitimate, my flaws didn't have to be my story.

Such freedom!  When I am wrongfully accused, God defends! When I'm wrong and come to him repentantly, God forgives!

So today, even while sitting at my kitchen table reviewing our notes for Sunday morning, I was encouraged once again to listen to the right voice. Not the voices of my critics -- and not my inner accusatory voice when I'm my own worst critic. God is speaking something much different, much better, over me.

I love you. I forgive you when you confess your sins to me. I'm protecting you. I defend you. I'm your faithful helper and guide in these circumstances. I will never leave you or forsake you.

That's the right voice to listen to.

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