An Audience of One

Sara and I saw a movie recently about two national figures who had acted honorably even though most people didn’t think so. They were the victims of false assumptions and accusations by people who didn’t know what was true or didn’t care. Instead of being celebrated as the heroes they were, they were vilified by the media and others. Neither had the platform to clear up the misconceptions.

At the end of the movie they are sitting together on a plane and one turns to the other and said that he didn’t do what others thought he had done. The other looked into his eyes and said, “I know.  But the only thing that matters is that you know.”

It is so easy to take our identity from what others think of us, and what may be said about us in social media. As one who has had a lot of negative things said about him  based on assumptions and sometimes outright lies, I was touched by this movie. My heart was warmed as I was reminded that what others think doesn’t matter. We are not who people think we are and it only matters what we know to be true.

But I would add something greater still. Not only do we know, but God knows as well and doesn’t that make an even bigger difference? Of all the ugly things said and written about me the ones that hurt the most are the lies told by those I thought were close friends—people I have loved and served at personal cost. Nothing amazes me more than that another human being would chose a lie over a friendship, but it happens. Even there, when someone lies and others around them don’t know the truth, it is more than enough that God knows.

Perhaps nothing is a better indication of what I’m living for. If I’m frustrated by the lies and misunderstandings of others, then I’m probably staking my identity on what others think of me. Instead of being real, I will try to provide an image that wins their approval. But when I’m living to God and not the notoriety of the crowd or the accolades of media, then it matters not at all that others misunderstand or don’t even know. Knowing that he knows is all that matters. When I’ve done what he has asked then I can be at peace even in the misplaced judgments of others.

And, that is an awesome freedom, one of those I appreciate most from this part in the journey. I couldn’t do most of what I do in the world today if I were more afraid of how I might look than what is real and honest. I wasn’t always that way but knowing his love his increasingly becomes the only opinion I value. Live to an audience of One and the distortions of this age will not trouble you because at the end of it all, only what’s true will matter.