In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me?
Reading the rest of the Psalm, you can tell that this man is being persecuted. He talks about being pursued and attacked. People are twisting his words and plotting against him. I think there have been times when each of us has at least felt like that.
Too often we respond by lashing out or shutting down. Either one is a failed attempt to regain control over a situation you never truly had control over in the first place.
Take gossip for example. How can you stop people from talking about you? You could be the most upstanding person imaginable and people will still find ways to spread some juicy rumor about you that drags your name in the mud. There’s no easy solution there. If you stand up for yourself, you risk looking combative. If you say nothing, you risk looking guilty. The best you can do is to live as consistently as you can, be humble, and look to the Lord for strength and guidance. In time, the rumor mill will move on to something else and your embarrassment will pass.
If you look at it from an eternal perspective (and I urge you to do so), what is truly important is how you deal with the situation you are in, not what they are saying about you or doing to you. The answer, as always, comes from the Lord. Does God, who knows all and sees all, judge you based on lies that are made up by biter, jealous, or malicious people? Of course not. Isn’t the Lord’s opinion the one that really matters?
Let me put it this way, if you were standing in a room with Jesus and any mortal person, who would you be more interested in pleasing? If you are a believer, the Holy Spirit (who is God and Jesus as well) lives in your heart and is with you everywhere you go. So in truth, you are always standing in a room with Jesus. So act in ways that please him (both in private and around other people).
I’m no expert on this (I’ve had a relatively easy life), but I believe that mortal man can make your life very difficult and very hard, but he can’t make it miserable unless you let him. Some of the most oppressed people in the worst positions can find joy in life in those situations. Some of the richest people in the world are extremely miserable.
So how can you find contentment? Setting your eyes on Christ and seeking to please him instead of yourself or the people around you seems like a good place to start.