A great test of our spiritual maturity is if we can do the right thing while knowing that we will never get credit for it.
Are we capable of supporting or defending someone when they are not present to appreciate it? Telling someone, “I have your back”, means we must guard how we act “behind their back”. Sadly, there is a behavior that’s getting more and more common – being nice to someone’s face, then being cruel, unkind, or unfair the moment they leave the room.
This is a breakdown of personal integrity. If you’ve experienced this treatment firsthand, you know the pain of feeling betrayed and lied to.
Cowardly, weasel-like men (my apologies to weasels) who practice this behavior make fair-weather friends, unfaithful husbands, and unreliable church and civic leaders.
They like to play the angles and please whoever they are with, changing sides and loyalties easily. These men make the worst kind of support because you never know when you can depend on them.
If you start to see any of these traits in yourself, let the Holy Spirit convict you of it and repent of it. Let God show you how to be there for others, even when you won’t get credit for it.
If we don’t recover and heal well in this area, we can start distrusting everyone we find ourselves in community with.
Building community with others is risky but Jesus didn’t call us to forsake it because of the risks. Actually, He embraced the risks Himself when He came from heaven, took on flesh, and lived among us. In the Gospels, you’ll see Jesus loving and helping all kinds of people, including the untrustworthy ones. Remember Judas? Jesus taught us to do good things, even in “secret”.
“Watch out! Don’t do your good deeds publicly, to be admired by others, for you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven. Matthew 6:1
Here are some ways to love someone behind their back:
Pray for them (behind their back).
Jesus taught the value of praying in secret and then demonstrated it often. Prayer produces wonderful results because God is your audience, and no one else needs to be there to hear your prayers. Of course, sometimes we need to pray for others in public, but prayer is usually offered in secret when others are absent.
Regarding prayer, the Apostle Paul used words like “supplication” and “intercession”. This kind of praying is when you have someone’s back in prayer, talking to God about them in order to save, deliver, or help them.
Praying to God about people is more loving and productive than simply talking to people about other people. God can work with your prayers. Your gossip, not so much.
Say kind words about them (behind their back).
Develop a habit of saying uplifting words about someone when they’re not present. The Bible has much to say about being an encourager and saying kind, positive words to a person’s face as well…but it shouldn’t stop when they leave the room.
Have you ever heard, through someone else, when a person said something positive and encouraging about you? You weren’t there, but they stuck up for you and supported you even though they knew you may never hear about it. Godly men can do this, in fact, they look for opportunities to do this. We know what it’s like to hear negative things through back channels. It cuts deep. Choose to treat others differently and do the opposite – stick up for them, behind their back.
Forgive them (behind their back).
In Mark 11:22-25, there is a powerful truth Jesus shared about how faith, prayer, and forgiveness work together. He said we need to forgive if we want our prayers to be effective. In fact, He said we need to forgive, “while we are praying”. In other words, you need to forgive in secret. You don’t have to stop everything, track that person down, and tell them you forgive them. You can do that later, but first, Jesus said you must forgive them in your heart. God knows, and you know – and that’s the main thing.
Your forgiveness may remain a secret but it’s important that you are obedient to Christ and set things right in your heart. Jesus demonstrated how to forgive others while He hung on a cross, alone and abandoned. He uttered the words, “Father, forgive them”. Later, the secret got out and it changed the world. But it started with a prayer He uttered only for God’s ears.
God sees it all and His view is what matters most.
When Christian men do things because they are right, not because they are noticed, they are becoming true disciples. They are becoming trustworthy men – men who realize that God sees it all and His view is what matters most – right now as well as for eternity. Being a man who truly supports others will help you grow and lead well through the changing seasons of life. In marriage, in raising children, in being excellent in your career or church ministry. Jesus needs men of integrity who can do godly things behind someone’s back, with no credit or medals necessary. No weasels allowed.