What an interesting thing.
There'll always be something that people think about you or say about you, only because they don't fully understand.
A verse I read this morning was Acts 28:5 "But Paul shook the snake off into the fire and suffered no ill effects."
What's this about you ask?
Well, Paul (at that time held as a prisoner) had been in a boat that had been shipwrecked (read Acts 27:27-44). The soldiers in the boat were planning to kill the prisoners to prevent them from swimming away, but fortunately the centurion (a professional officer or commander of the army) wanted to spare Paul's life and thus kept the plan from happening.
Long story short, Paul is safely on the shore on an island called Malta.
The islanders show him unusual kindness as it says (verse 2) which is quite an interesting phrase in itself, but any who, the islanders built a fire and welcomed Paul and the others.
Reading Acts 28:3-6 it says that Paul gathered a pile of brushwood, and as he put it on the fire, a viper (a large snake with large fangs) was driven out by the heat and it fastened itself on his hand. When the islanders saw that the snake was on Paul's hand, they said to each other, "this man must be a murderer; for though he escaped from the sea, Justice has not allowed him to live" (verse 4)
The people assumed that Paul's "lifestyle" had come to haunt him and now his life was going to be taken by the snake. The islanders had formed their opinion and conclusion, and yes, they had even included God in it.
Good thing for Paul he can't read minds, or he'd go loco, but we see that what he did was shake the snake off into the fire and he suffered no ill effects. (verse 5).
Yes, it seems like it was was that simple as it says, "But Paul shook the snake off..." The word "but" means: "regardless of, nevertheless, in spite of." Paul shook it off in spite of what was going on around him. He didn't let the snake suck on him whilst dwelling on how "ohh it must be God punishing me because things are going wrong..."
There are times when we need to just shake it off, and I mean, shake it off and keep moving. People will formulate an opinion based on what they think, saw, or some preconceived notion, but we can't let that stop us, even if they are "fastened" to us and are looking for what next to say or think of you.
I read verse in Acts this morning. This evening I was led to read 1 Peter 3:13 "Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good?"
Verse 14 then says, "But even if you should suffer for doing what is right, you are blessed."
Verse 16 also says, "...keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. It is better, if it is God's will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil."
The context of 1 Peter 3:22 is about suffering for doing good.
We also see that Paul had been doing the Lord's work, and still ended up being put in jail and persecuted among other things.
I'm humbled when I also think of Christ and all the good He did, but still got persecuted (think of the Pharisees and all their judgements and willingness to "catch" Christ doing something wrong so they could blame Him). So how much more for us...how much more...
My point is this:
Let't continue to do good. To seek to do good, to be eager to do good. As it is written, it is better to suffer for doing good than evil.
We know that Christ said that there will be suffering in this world but He has over come the world (John 33:16), so it is much better, as we are reassured here, to suffer for doing good.
I know it hurts when people form opinions about you, even when you're resting in the Lord's way, but remember that your mission is far too precious (and so are you and your sanity!) and that it will only make you stronger and give you a thicker skin ("all things work together for good for those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose" Romans 8:28). Let's choose to forgive and then shake it off like a snake so we can move toward the prize which we have been called heavenward (Philippians 3:14).
Not only that, but I want you to know that Christ knows how you feel when people talk about you, form opinions about you that are not true or when they jump to conclusions. He knows exactly how you feel, so I encourage you to run to Him, into His arms so He can hold you through it. He will never let you down, never, He's always here, to rescue you.