SUSPICIOUS OF SUSPICION
Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious…it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it…does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail. Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything…. Love never fails [never fades out or becomes obsolete or comes to an end].
—1 Corinthians 13:4-8A
These words about love are familiar to most of us, but I can honestly say that living them has not always been easy for me. As a child, I was not exposed to this kind of love—in fact, I was taught to be suspicious of everyone. I was told that the motives of other people were not to be trusted.
As I got older, I encountered people whose actions confirmed in my mind that my suspicions were justified. Even as a young Christian, I experienced disappointment because of the obvious motives of some people in the church. While it is wise to be aware of people’s motives, we must be careful that we don’t allow our suspicious nature to negatively affect our feelings about everyone.
An overly suspicious nature can poison your mind and affect your ability to love and accept other people. Consider this example.
Suppose a friend approaches you after a church service, and says, “Do you know what Doris thinks about you?” Then this friend tells you every detail of the things Doris said. The first problem is that a true friend wouldn’t share such information. And the second problem is that with an already ¬suspicious mind, you now believe secondhand information.
Once your mind has been poisoned against someone, suspicion grows. That’s when Satan gains a stronghold in your mind. Every time Doris says something to you, you are automatically suspicious, thinking, What does she really mean? Or if she’s nice to you, you think, I wonder what she wants from me.
That’s how Satan works. If he can make you suspicious of others, it isn’t long before you don’t trust anything they say. And if you’ve been hurt like this several times, the devil can poison your thinking to the point that you start wondering who else may be talking about you behind your back.
Let’s continue the example. Suppose that one day in church, Doris is sitting just a few rows in front of you, clapping her hands and praising the Lord. Immediately you think, She’s such a hypocrite.
Then the Holy Spirit directs your thoughts to your own condition, and the fact that you were clapping and praising the Lord while harboring bad feelings toward Doris. Didn’t Jesus tell us to make peace with others before we present our gifts to Him? (see Matthew 5:24).
Convicted by these words of Jesus, suppose you step forward and apologize to Doris for the bad feelings you have toward her…and she stares at you in absolute shock. Then you realize your mistake. You misinterpreted the information your friend had shared with you about Doris, allowing the devil to turn you against a wonderful, godly woman.
This is a good example of how suspicion can cripple relationships and destroy our joy while it leads us astray. This is why learning to develop a 1 Corinthians 13 kind of love is so important.
It took me a while to overcome a lifetime of suspicions, but I finally learned that when we love God’s way, we have no place for suspicion of others.
Lord, I thank You for showing me how to overcome my suspicious nature by teaching me how to love others with Your kind of love. Thank You, Jesus, for being patient with me and for being my great example. Amen.