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Don’t Let ’em Get To Ya, Charlie!

bobby_knight.jpg I picked the name Charlie, but it could be Joey or Bubba just as well. The coach grabs the flustered player’s jersey, jams his nose into the side of his head and screams.

“Fahgetaboudit, Charlie! Don’t let ’em get to ya! Get out there and play!”

Charlie takes a deep breath, shuts his eyes tight enough to squeeze the sweat beads from his eyelids and exhales with a whoosh. He knows that if he lets the opposing team and their hostile, vicious fans get into his head, it’s all over. Jolted back into reality, he bites his mouth guard and races back into the huddle.

In the church, too many Charlies, Joeys or Bubbas forget the fact that all believers live for God in the middle of a hostile, jeering crowd. They don’t understand why the devil doesn’t just leave them alone, or why the crowd doesn’t back off. Their detractors constantly harrass them and never miss a chance to throw a dig or insult. They must be ignored.

Then, there’s the inside crowd, the people who wear the same color jerseys. That’s the group that’s hardest to take. Some of them keep the rumor mill churning; some seem to misconstrue every word or gesture; and some turn friends into enemies, all the while keeping a sweet and innocent look on their faces. These “nattering nabobs of negativism”, as William Safire called them, must not interfere with the mission at hand.

Few, if any, memorable names from scripture escaped adversity from allies or opponents. They battled their way to victory through all the naysayers, incessant critics, liars, crooks, cheats, back-stabbers, traitors, jealous friends and envious enemies. They faced frontal assault, subtle sabotage and conspiratorial schemes. But, early on, they learned that nothing—-or no one—-could get to them if they kept their eyes on the prize. Inspect this exemplary list:

Abraham . He survived treachery from his nephew Lot , ridicule from his wife, Sarah, and numerous conflicts with enemy tribes around him. Nothing forced him off course.

Joseph . He dealt with inhumane treatment from his own brothers, a lying plot from his boss’s wife and was forgotten and left to languish in prison by an insensitive friend. He remained undaunted.

Moses . Exiled from Egypt , rejected by authorities, double-crossed by his duplicitous brother Aaron, and hit with constant complaining and criticism from the very people he had just led out of bondage, Moses rose above it all.

David . Belittled by his brethren and hunted by his homicidal father-in-law, he maintained a buoyant and exuberant spirit. Even when his wife, Michal, ripped into him and, later, his son, Absolom, stole the hearts of the people away from him, David stayed true to God.

Daniel . Hounded by his enemies and stung by a king who was supposed to be his friend, he never broke stride.

The woman with the issue of blood . The crowd stood in her way and her physical strength nearly failed her, but she touched the hem of Jesus’ garment anyway.

Blind Bartimaeus . The disciples tried to subdue him, but were unsuccessful.

The Apostle Paul . Named among his critics were Alexander the coppersmith, Hymenaeus the apostate, but also Barnabus and the Apostle Peter. He spoke of perils within and perils without. Retreat never occurred to him.

Jesus . He came unto his own and his own received him not. One of his closest confidantes, Judas, turned out to be the instrument of Satan. Jesus was fully committed to his earthly mission.

You cannot make people be nice, be fair, behave or begone! Don’t let ’em get to you! You only frustrate yourself when you allow people to get into your head with their words and deeds. Shake it off. If you focus your energy on hostile enemies and traitorous friends, you will lose all sense of purpose. Winning the war is the main goal and it will degenerate into meaningless little games if you respond to critics or get even with your tormentors.

If you truly want to win, refuse to be separated from your primary purpose. Erect a thick wall around your sensitivities and let nothing penetrate the wall. Forge ahead through the hackers and haters to claim to claim your prize.

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