It’s been an introspective season for me as Lent wraps up. I spent several hours at my church’s Stations of the Cross devotional this past weekend. Started meditating on several Scriptures surrounding Christ’s suffering and death…obviously 🙂
“He was despised and rejected— a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way. He was despised, and we did not care.
Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for his own sins! But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed.
All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the LORD laid on him the sins of us all.
He was oppressed and treated harshly, YET HE NEVER SAID A WORD. He was led like a lamb to the slaughter. And as a sheep is silent before the shearers, HE DID NOT OPEN HIS MOUTH” (Isaiah 53:3-7).
Unfortunately, even among Christians, slander, gossip, verbal attacks, etc. are prevalent. It shouldn’t be so but it’s a fact of life. I’ve said it many times, wherever 2 or more are present…there will be conflict. We can’t always control what’s said or done to us, but:
- we can control how we respond
- make sure that we don’t set the stage or nurture an environment for sins of the tongue to flourish
As we see from the example of Christ’s last 20 hours on earth, He did nothing to defend or protect Himself. His was the path of perfect submission, surrender, and service. Servants get used and abused. If He is our model, then then our response is to yield silently, (not to be mistaken with passive aggressiveness or controlled obstinance).
- we’re gossiped about
- people slander us
- talked about in a disparaging manner
- our character is assassinated
- our good is evil spoken of
- our integrity is challenged
- we’re blamed unfairly
- we’re accused, abandoned, alienated…
…we are to follow in the way of our Savior. That means, we don’t JUSTIFY, DEFEND, VINDICATE, PROTECT, RETALIATE, RETURN INJURY FOR INJURY, or SEEK REVENGE.
Ugh. How our flesh and our bruised egos want to pick up the sword and cut off the ears…or tongues… The path can be painful, dangerous, wearisome, unfair, confusing, disheartening, discouraging, and even disgusting. But the rewards are glorious. Christ knows because He was there and endured.
Lord, we ask for Your amazing grace. Help us to follow the path of the servant, the steps of the sacrificial Lamb. It’s not about self-preservation but perfect submission to Your Word. May our mouths be used only for encouraging, edifying, praising You, and proclaiming Your Word. Amen.