By Rev. Yvette R. Blair-Lavallais
John 10:31-39 (New Living Translation)
31 Once again the people picked up stones to kill him. 32 Jesus said, “At my Father’s direction I have done many good works. For which one are you going to stone me?” 33 They replied, “We’re stoning you not for any good work, but for blasphemy! You, a mere man, claim to be God.” 34 Jesus replied, “It is written in your own Scriptures that God said to certain leaders of the people, ‘I say, you are gods!’ 35 And you know that the Scriptures cannot be altered. So if those people who received God’s message were called ‘gods,’ 36 why do you call it blasphemy when I say, ‘I am the Son of God’? After all, the Father set me apart and sent me into the world. 37 Don’t believe me unless I carry out my Father’s work. 38 But if I do his work, believe in the evidence of the miraculous works I have done, even if you don’t believe me. Then you will know and understand that the Father is in me, and I am in the Father.” 39 Once again they tried to arrest him, but he got away and left them.
For anyone who has ever had to deal with doubters, you know how challenging the situation can be. You’ve likely been in this situation of being challenged every step of the way by people whose sole purpose seems to be to ridicule or to outright dismiss the authority of your role simply because they have a problem with acknowledging who you are. Maybe you’re in a leadership position at work or in an organization and there’s that one person who will seemingly stop at nothing to question not what you are doing, but the authority in which you rightfully do it. That’s the situation that Jesus encounters in this passage. He is being attacked by a group of naysayers and non-believers who refuse to see him for who he really is – the Son of God.
If you find yourself in a similar situation of being attacked for who you are, here are four things that you can do to overcome your doubters:
- Expect That it Will Happen – The opening words, “once again,” mean this isn’t the first time. It’s on-going. Anticipate that you will encounter doubters. Be prepared.
- Have an Attitude of Endurance – Jesus could have easily given up, but he endured. Calvary was his goal, so he didn’t let their attempts stop him and neither should you. Press through the stones of name-calling, jealousy, and character attacks. Remember, the end goal is always bigger than the enemy’s goal.
- Let the Evidence Speak for itself – Jesus didn’t allow them to redefine him. Instead, he challenged them to examine the evidence. Your accomplishments are the best answer to your critics.
- Look for God’s Escape Route – After a brief exchange, Jesus escaped the doubters and the stones. We can escape our doubters by praying, listening for God’s voice and staying focused on God’s plan. When we know that we are doing what God has called us and positioned us to do, trust that God will always provide a way.
Remember, the work you are doing is a part of advancing God’s plan. Don’t let the doubters detour you.
Rev. Yvette R. Blair-Lavallais is a licensed pastor and an elder in the United Methodist Church. She lives in Dallas with her husband, Rev. Carl M. Lavallais. Look for her forthcoming book, Being Ruth: Pressing Through Life’s Struggles, later this spring.