May 16, 2021

It’s Really Not About You!

SCRIPTURE READING

“Early in the morning David left the flock in the care of a shepherd, loaded up and set out, as Jesse had directed. He reached the camp as the army was going out to its battle positions, shouting the war cry. Israel and the Philistines were drawing up their lines facing each other. David left his things with the keeper of supplies, ran to the battle lines and asked his brothers how they were. As he was talking with them, Goliath, the Philistine champion from Gath, stepped out from his lines and shouted his usual defiance, and David heard it. Whenever the Israelites saw the man, they all fled from him in great fear.

 

Now the Israelites had been saying, “Do you see how this man keeps coming out? He comes out to defy Israel. The king will give great wealth to the man who kills him. He will also give him his daughter in marriage and will exempt his family from taxes in Israel.” David asked the men standing near him, “What will be done for the man who kills this Philistine and removes this disgrace from Israel? Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?” They repeated to him what they had been saying and told him, “This is what will be done for the man who kills him.”

 

When Eliab, David’s oldest brother, heard him speaking with the men, he burned with anger at him and asked, “Why have you come down here? And with whom did you leave those few sheep in the wilderness? I know how conceited you are and how wicked your heart is; you came down only to watch the battle.” “Now what have I done?” said David. “Can’t I even speak?” He then turned away to someone else and brought up the same matter, and the men answered him as before.

 

What David said was overheard and reported to Saul, and Saul sent for him. David said to Saul, “Let no one lose heart. on account of this Philistine; your servant will go and fight him.” Saul replied, “You are not able to go out against this Philistine and fight him; you are only a young man, and he has been a warrior from his youth.” But David said to Saul, “Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. The LORD who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.” Saul said to David, “Go, and the LORD be with you.”

I Samuel 17:20-37 NIV

INTRODUCTION TO THE LESSON SERIES

In his book The Four Agreements, Don Miguel Ruiz states that we have made thousands of agreements with ourselves, other people, God, our parents, children, society and others. Many of these agreements make us suffer and fail in life. He suggests that if we want to live a life of joy and fulfilment, we have to find the courage to break those agreements and claim our personal power. He offers four new agreements for us to change our entire system of old agreements.

 

INTRODUCTION TO THE LESSON

Don’t Take Things Personally is the 2nd of The Four Agreements proposed by Don Miguel Ruiz. He suggests that nothing people do is because of you. Like the young David, we, too, can come to this awareness and not allow what people say to deter us from fulfilling our God-given assignment.

 

DEFINITION

Agreement:

The situation in which people have the same opinion, or in which they approve of or accept something (dictionary.cambridge.org)

 

MAJOR POINTS

1. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality. What people say and do is about them, not you. David’s father and brothers considered him a mere shepherd, but God saw him as a warrior king. Taking things personally can lead to anger and other negative emotions that distract you from God’s purposes. God wants us to respond to perceived mistreatment with love.

“Love is not rude, it is not selfish, and it cannot be made angry easily. Love does not remember wrongs done against it.”

I Corinthians 13:5 ERV

2. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others you live in joy, stay ‘on track’ and fulfil your God-given purpose. Concentrate on loving the person rather than resenting him/her.

“Love each other with a warm love that comes from the heart. After all, you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth. As a result you have a sincere love for each other.”

I Peter 1:22 GW

Practical Tips for Not Taking Things Personally

If someone says or does something to hurt your feelings, shift your focus to love:

  • Realize the person’s words/actions may be a reflection of pressure in his/her life.
  • Realize the person’s words/actions may be a reflection of tiredness or exhaustion.
  • Realize the person’s words/actions may be due to him/her concentrating on issues, problems, or plans.
  • Realize the person’s words/actions may be a reflection of personality problems. You can lovingly say to yourself, “That’/his/her) problem.”
  • Realize that you may not see things clearly or may misinterpret something.
  • Realize that you may have set yourself up to be hurt.
  • Realize that you may be too sensitive, or that your expectations may be unreasonable.

QUOTE TO PONDER

“When we really see people as they are without taking it personally, we can never be hurt by what they say or do.”

Don Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements, page 57

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