Know thyself, and God will supply the wisdom and the occasion for a victory over evil. Clad in the panoply of Love, human hatred cannot reach you.
– Mary Baker Eddy
Have you ever been accused of something you didn’t do? Have you ever been accused of THINKING something you weren’t thinking, or of being motivated by something that wasn’t motivating you?
Yeah. Most of us have probably found ourselves in that position at one time or another. I know I have. In fact, I know this kind of thing happened 2000 years ago, too, because there are references made to it in The Bible. “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour…” is one of the ten commandments, after all. And the story of Job is pretty instructive in this regard: There was Job, afflicted with all kinds of crap – disease and pain and horrific loss. And there were his three “friends” – Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar – all having a great deal of fun plastering Job with labels, and telling him that God had brought these troubles to him because he deserved them somehow. Zophar says: “But oh that God would speak, and open his lips against thee; And that he would shew thee the secrets of wisdom, that they are double to that which is! Know therefore that God exacteth of thee less than thine iniquity deserveth.”
But in the story, Job knew his innocence. He recognized his real identity.
And this all brings me to Chris, a young man I met in Bellingham a few weeks ago. I saw Chris standing outside the restrooms at the top of the ramp leading to the boardwalk, and smiled and wished him a good morning. He wished me a good morning back and then told me he was homeless and asked me if I had any money I could give him to buy breakfast. I invited him to join me on my walk and told him I’d buy him breakfast down at the coffee shop in the park. The park is about a mile away, so Chris and I had a lot of time to chat. He told me he hadn’t finished high school – and I told him about a program I knew of that could help him get his diploma at the local community college. He told me about his favorite high school teachers – an art teacher, a special education teacher, and a math teacher – and said that he enjoys making art and writing. And then he shared a piece of life-wisdom that I thought was worth preserving for posterity – and that he graciously allowed me to record on my camera. (Click on the words highlighted in blue to hear Chris’s life-quote.)
Chris explained his quote this way: “Be known in life for what you do do, and not for what people say you do.”
And that – right there! – is a man who recognizes his identity isn’t based on what other people think of him. He isn’t going to let other people define who he is. And neither should we.