Say That Again
In the third book of John, the Apostle speaks of Gaius. More specifically he speaks of how others speak of Gaius. He goes on to say in the text that people give a sparkling testimony of Gaius and his kindness and behavior towards others, including strangers. How he treats strangers as friends.
“I was overjoyed when some of the friends arrived and testified to your faithfulness to the truth, namely how you walk in the truth. I have no greater joy than this, to hear that my children are walking in the truth. Beloved, you do faithfully whatever you do for the friends, even though they are strangers to you; they have testified to your love before the church. You will do well to send them on in a manner worthy of God; for they began their journey for the sake of Christ, accepting no support from non-believers. Therefore we ought to support such people, so that we may become co-workers with the truth.” (3 John 1:3-8).
This caused me to think about what I say about others. What kind of testimony do I give about others? When you like someone or love someone, it is quite easy to give a great testimony about them. But what about people who you have conflict with? You know, that coworker you don’t dislike but you know they put the least effort into things. Or that friend you like but know that they are no good at certain things and so you feel you cannot call on them in certain situations but wish you could.
Sometimes it’s family. You love your sister or brother but maybe you are a little disappointed at some of the choices they have made. When I really thought about it, I realized that if I have any unforgiveness or unresolved feelings about someone, I don’t always give a good testimony. I realized that I may immediately speak what I am conflicted about first. And the truth is most of us do that.
I think we are predisposed to define people by their mistakes when we struggle to forgive or let go of what they’ve done. So we give that negative testimony. But that door swings both ways. Think about how you would feel if people only talked about your mistakes. It would not feel good at all. More importantly, if you keep highlighting the negative of others, you may find your capacity to give thanks to God is impaired. You suddenly can’t see the good in situations anymore because you are so programed to see the bad.
So I challenged myself to be truthful but also positive when I speak of others. The first step is forgiveness. We must forgive others if we want to be forgiven (Matthew 6:14). And if God can throw our sins into a sea of forgetfulness (Micah 7:19), surely we can let go of the things that people have said and done to us. Not for them but for ourselves. So let’s pay attention to the testimony we give of others. Be blessed!
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