1 Samuel 10:27 tells us that the children of Belial spoke harshly of Saul. Said these individuals, “how shall this man save us?” We read that they “despised him, and brought him no presents. How Saul deals with these individuals is applicable to the youth.
We read that Saul “held his peace” (1 Samuel 10:27). It is wise to ignore the naysayers in our lives. This is difficult to do, as we deep down want to find favor in the eyes of our peers. There are also times in our lives when those who criticize us can teach us much.
My son is in 9th grade right now and is a student body officer. He heard rumors about him that are not true, hurtful things that some students had said about him. While this is typical behavior for those his age, I could tell that he was bothered by what he had heard and came to his mother and I for some advice. While ignoring their words is wise, I could tell that he wanted more. He wanted to do all he could to stymie the false reports he was hearing.
The following illustration from the life of the prophet Joseph Smith helps us to balance the words of the naysayers of our lives. On the one hand, we should not let their negativity bring us down and stop us from doing the good things we are working towards. On the other hand, we should ask ourselves if there is anything in our conduct that laid the block on which the story was built.
Laid the block on which the story was built
I went one day to the Prophet with a sister. She had a charge to make against one of the brethren for scandal. When her complaint had been heard the Prophet asked her if she was quite sure that what the brother had said of her was utterly untrue. She was quite sure that it was. He then told her to think no more about it, for it could not harm her. If untrue it could not live, but the truth will survive. Still she felt that she should have some redress. Then he offered her his method of dealing with such cases for himself. When an enemy had told a scandalous story about him, which had often been done, before he rendered judgment he paused and let his mind run back to the time and place and setting of the story to see if he had not by some unguarded word or act laid the block on which the story was built. If he found that he had done so, he said that in his heart he then forgave his enemy, and felt thankful that he had received warning of a weakness that he had not known he possessed. Then he said to the sister that he would have her to do the same: search her memory thoroughly and see if she had not herself unconsciously laid the foundation for the scandal that annoyed her. The sister thought deeply for a few moments and then confessed that she believed that she had. Then the Prophet told her that in her heart she should forgive that brother who had risked his own good name and her friendship to give her this clearer view of herself. The sister thanked her advisor and went away in peace (italics added, Jesse W. Crosby, in Hyrum Andrus, They Knew the Prophet, 162-163).