As promised, I am back to share my next blog-post. Today I will be sharing some things that are very meaningful to me personally.
The thoughts I’m sharing are based off of Matthew 26: 46-75, Mark 14:42-72, Luke 22:47-71 and John 18:2-27 (I will comment on Peter’s experience of denying Jesus in next week’s blog-post). Since I am mainly just sharing insights from the first part of Jesus’ trial, I encourage those who may not be familiar with this story to read the texts I have cited above.
I am amazed by the amount of self-control, humility, poise and dignity that Jesus has. Jesus is God, and He could have destroyed the people who came to arrest Him, but He did not. When Jesus’ disciple, Peter, rashly cut off an ear of the high priest’s servant, Jesus put the ear back on the servant and healed him. Jesus is not vengeful and retaliatory. He loves to show mercy.
Jesus had such a composure about Him. He knew when to be silent and when to speak. Jesus could have successfully defended Himself and escaped from the judgment hall, but He did not do so. He came to pay the price for sin. Although He was taking upon Himself the sins of others- sins which He did not commit, He bore the cruelty He was receiving from some of the very people He would soon die for without making any excuses.
I periodically think about Jesus’ dignified, self controlled presence and demeanor during His unjust trials. As I think on these thoughts, I see a big difference between Jesus’ demeanor under a terrible, cruel and unjust trial, and my demeanor under much less severe circumstances. It amazes me that I am ready to immediately speak in my own defense when I feel that I am simply misunderstood. Often I do not clarify what I mean with a calm, gracious spirit, but instead I am mildly upset and possibly somewhat passive aggressive.
In recent years, I have come to see that, in order for us to truly be noble under all circumstances, we humans must be fully surrendered to God. We cannot truly be noble and we cannot have perfect self control under all circumstances unless we are caught up in living for a Person (God) and a cause (His will and ways) that are much higher and holier than us.
Jesus was living to bless us and to glorify His Father. This was His goal at all times, while He lived on earth. A couple of weeks ago, we learned about the terrible struggle that He had in Gethsemane. Even while under the most terrible circumstances, Jesus’ surrendered to His Father’s will and received strength from above to finish the work He had come to do on earth: to show us how to live a beautiful, loving, unselfish and righteous life and then to die on the cross in order to pay the penalty for our sins. The victory that Jesus gained in Gethsemane was a powerful one. Jesus chose to remain surrendered to His Father, and His heart remained full of love for His Father and for us. He would not be turned aside. He would not choose His own interests and comfort over ours. He would not defend Himself merely for the sake of defending Himself. We were more important in His mind, and with the strength that He had received from His Father, He bore Himself nobly during His unjust trial. He had perfect self control, and was completely free from selfishness in every form.
Likewise, I believe that when God brings me to a place, (and praise the Lord, He is bringing me to this place more and more, day by day) where my love for God, my faith and trust in Him, and my loyalty to His unselfish ways are rock solid, I also will no longer defend myself simply for the sake of defending myself. I will be wise and circumspect and will take care of myself so that I can be a blessing to others, but I will not defend myself merely because I am only thinking about myself. I will no longer indulge in irritation when I am misunderstood. I will not dwell on the wrongs that other people have done against me. I will not be a vengeful, retaliatory person who believes that two wrongs make a right. God will make everything fair and square in the end.
If a person is mean, cruel and unjust, and so I respond to that person by being mean, cruel and unjust in return, what good have I done? If the person thought badly of me before, I am now actually giving them some honestly bad things to think about me because of the way that I am acting. Hate does not destroy hate. Anger does not destroy anger. Cruelty does not destroy cruelty. Jealousy does not destroy jealousy. A holier than thou attitude does not destroy a holier than thou attitude. Love brings conviction to those who are hateful. Self control brings conviction to those who are angry. Gentleness brings conviction to those who are cruel. Unselfish love brings conviction to those who are jealous. A humble, dignified and unselfish attitude brings conviction to those with a holier than thou attitude.
“Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.
If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.
Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.
Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.
Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:17-21 (KJV)
I hope that you will join me on this journey of allowing Jesus to transform my heart and remove every ounce of selfishness from it. As we allow Jesus to do this, He will take away our paranoia, our self consciousness, our shyness, our comparing ourselves with others, our dissatisfaction, our revengefulness, our unforgiveness and our desires to get back at people who have wronged us. In the place of these feelings and attitudes, He will give us peace, true dignity and true self-worth, comfort and friendliness, rest in simply being the people that God has made us individually, contentedness, trust in God and true forgiveness, which makes us want to see our enemies healed, forgiven and restored to being the people that God wants them to be.
Doesn’t this sound wonderful? If you want to have this experience, I welcome you to agree in prayer with the sentiments that I have expressed in my prayer below.
Oh dear Jesus, please forgive us for being so selfish, vengeful and retaliatory. We see how much You did for us and even though we do not always appreciate all that You did for us, You do not dwell on this and become bitter against us. We give up our selfishness. We want to experience our true dignity and our true self worth, both of which can only be found in a relationship with You. We want to come to see more and more how much You value us and we want to be more and more convinced that You have made each and everyone of us to do wonderful things in life. We do not want to defend ourselves for the sake of defending ourselves anymore. We only want to take care of ourselves so that we will be better able to take care of others. Please help us dear Jesus. Please help us to think Your thoughts. Where we are extreme and unbalanced, please bring us to the right positions and help us to think right thoughts. Thank you so much for Your love and mercy. In Jesus’ Name Amen.
Blessings and courage! Jude 24