The Following of Christ
Dear children, be brave and trust in Jesus.
Words, after all, are only words! They fly through the air but cannot really do any harm.
If you are guilty of what people accuse you, think how you may do better. If you are not guilty, think what a privilege is yours, to bear pain for the love of God!
It is little enough that now and then you should suffer a few words, you who are as yet unable to stand heavy blows.
Why do you take to heart such trivial things, except that you are still too carnal and desire too much human recognition?
You are still afraid others will despise you. You are unwilling to be blamed for your defects, and always seek to make excuses for yourself. Now look into yourself more carefully, and you will find that the world lives in you, as well as the vain desire to please men.
If you are unwilling to be humiliated and put to shame for your defects, it is evident you are not truly humble yet, nor truly dead to the world, and that the world has not yet been crucified to you.
Just listen to Jesus’ words, and you will not care about thousands and thousands of words of men.
If all the evil that could be invented maliciously were spoken against you, what harm could it do, if you just ignored it? Could all this talk remove one hair from your head? (Luke 21:18).
But the one whose heart is not settled inside within, the one that does not have Jesus continually before his eyes, easily becomes disturbed by a word of reproach.
On the other hand, the one that trusts Jesus and refuses to justify himself in his own eyes lives free from the fear of men.
Jesus is the judge and knows all secrets. He knows how everything happens. He knows the one that treats others injustly, and those that suffer the injustice.
Jesus will judge the guilty and the innocent. Human testimony often errs, but his judgement is true. It will stand and not be reversed.
The judgement of Jesus is hidden from many and made known to few, yet it never errs, although it sometimes seems unjust in the eyes of those that do not understand. For that reason you should trust him without hesitation, and without leaning on your own judgement.
The just man will not be disturbed by what happens to him, with God’s permission.
Even if people say unfair and unkind things about him, the just man will not be troubled. Neither will he rejoice when he is vindicated by others. He knows that Jesus searches all hearts and that he judges not according to the face and outward appearance of men (Psalm 7:10).
What is blameworthy in Jesus’ eyes is often found worthy of praise in the judgment of men.
Geert Groote, 1340-1384, Brothers and Sisters of the Common Life, Deventer, Netherlands