“But I was like a lamb or an ox that is brought to the slaughter; and I knew not that they had devised devices against me, saying, Let us destroy the tree with the fruit thereof, and let us cut him off from the land of the living, that his name may be no more remembered.”
Jeremiah 11 is a prophecy of God against Judah for their refusal to follow through on King Josiah’s revival. The men of Judah conspired to have Jeremiah killed because of his message against the people for their refusal to follow the LORD. It was this evil that moved God judge these people.
What I love about Jeremiah is that he couldn’t believe these people would do such a thing. Jeremiah belief in these people caused him to be shocked when he found out that they wanted him killed. He said in the verse above, “But I was like a lamb or an ox that is brought to the slaughter; and I knew not that they had devised devices against me…” Jeremiah’s innocence led him to believe in the goodness of people.
You will never be used greatly by the LORD if you don’t believe in the goodness of people. Don’t take me wrong when I make this statement. I am not saying that you must believe that men are not sinners, for men are sinners. What I am saying is that you must believe that people truly have a desire to do right. That is what Jeremiah believed, and that was why he was totally shocked at the revelation of their conspiracy. Let me give you a couple thoughts about the need of believing in others.
First, most people do have a desire to do right. You must believe that most people don’t desire to hurt others, but sin is what causes them to make foolish and hurtful mistakes. You must believe that sin breaks people and causes them to make these hurtful decisions. If you believe in the goodness of people, you will learn to fight the sin instead of belittling the sinner. Belittling the sinner never changes one individual. You will find it much easier to help broken people if you truly believe that most people desire to do right.
Second, you will become the source of attack when you try to help people. The nature of sin causes an individual to attack the messenger rather than correct their sinful action. You cannot allow the attacks of others to turn you away from believing in people. My friend, God is very capable of protecting you. It was God who told Jeremiah of the conspiracy of these men, and He will also protect you if you will continue to invest your life in trying to help people.
Third, it is better to be wrong in believing in people than it is to be right in criticizing and attacking them. You will learn that most criticism about people is wrong. It is normally filled with gossip and innuendos that cannot be proven, and to spread such lies will only hurt your credibility. You must always remember that if you were wrong about your belief in others, you at least had faith in them.
Fourth, you will never help people if you don’t believe in them. It is impossible to help people when you don’t believe that God can do something through them. If God believed in you when you were broken, why can’t you believe in others when they are broken? The degree to which God can use you in His ministry will be dependent upon your belief in others and God’s ability to make something out of them. Let me encourage you to keep a belief in others so that you can be God’s tool to help build people to usefulness.