Thursday, October 11, 2007

“Consider him”

Have you ever experienced what it means to have enemies? Do you know what it is like to be slandered or lied on, to have your words taken completely out-of-context and used against you? Do you know what it is like to be actively opposed and undermined?

If so, then you know what it is like to have an enemy. Now, before I go any further, let me explain that I’m not talking about someone you hate. There is no place in the Christian life for ungodly hatred. What I’m talking about is when other people, perhaps, hate you, when others set themselves against you. When this situation develops, what should you do?

First of all, I’m reminded that Jesus had enemies. People lied on Jesus. They snatched the Lord’s words out-of-context and used them against him. People spoke slander against Jesus and tried to malign his character…and Jesus was perfect!

By contrast, none of us are perfect. All of us are sinners. I know I deserve far worse than anything that others could say or do against me. I deserve God’s wrath and condemnation. I deserve death. I deserve hell. So do you. We’re all sinners before a holy God. Thought of in this light, the actions of others against us are not so bad after all. I believe it was George Whitefield who said, “What I know about myself is far worse than what anyone says about me.”

I’m also reminded of what the writer of Hebrews wrote to believers who were feeling discouraged because of persecution (Hebrews 12:3):

“Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.”

That’s the answer, isn’t it? “Consider him…” Consider Jesus. He had no sin, yet he suffered far, far worse than the personal attacks we may sometimes endure. How can we overcome the discouragement we may feel during these times? “Consider him…” Know that our Savior understands; he’s “been there”. Remember also that when we are suffering because of others, we’re being given an opportunity to follow in our Lord’s footsteps (1 Peter 2:19, 21-23):

“For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly.”

Maybe you are enduring some kind of suffering at the hand of an enemy right now. I encourage you to consider Jesus. I know we sometimes want to fight back rather than suffer ill-treatment or unkind words from others. That’s why we must pray that God will teach us how to follow in Christ’s steps and entrust ourselves to the Father, “who judges justly”.

Consider him.

1 comment:

DjR said...

Quote: I believe it was George Whitefield who said, “What I know about myself is far worse than what anyone says about me.”

Speaking for myself, I can sign up to that one whole-heartedly! Today (and maybe every day called “today”) is a good day for me, anyway, to reflect on Ephesians 6:13.

David Reimer