There is one thing about God’s Word when we take the time to let it get into us. It will have an effect on us. If we need comfort, it will comfort. If we need guidance, it will guide. And if we need convicting, boy howdy…. it will convict.
This morning I got a good dose of conviction. And I needed it. Thanks to Isaiah and some deeper study provided by Eugene Peterson in The Message Study Bible, I got a good look at some ugly in me that needed cleansing.
In Isaiah 53, God lays it all out; our universal wandering and natural tendency to be selfish, selfish, selfish. He presses the point home that the only self-less one was Jesus Christ. Though He Himself never sinned, He bore the sins of all the world and paid the price we owed. And for this great gift, He was despised and rejected. Beaten and scorned by those He came to save, He did not strike back or retaliate. He followed through with all of this heaped on Him.
The commentary and study provided with this reading led me to 1 Peter 2:20-23 and Ephesians 4:31-32. I am not interested in copy write issues, so grab a Bible and check for yourself! We are called in these passages to imitate Christ. When we suffer from rejection, WHEN WE DON’T DESERVE IT, we are not to retaliate. Instead He set the example to forgive, love, and bless.
The study questions that accompanied the commentary prompted me to face some real names of real people that I would have to admit I feel “rejected” by. In reality, as I work through this in prayer and journaling, I have to honestly admit that I rather doubt this handful of names even realizes they are “rejecting” me. But, I have to say in truth this morning: I FEEL rejected. I also have to acknowledge that, unlike Jesus, I am not perfect in these relationships either. I am, by nature, blinded to my own part in this rejection process.
Next I have to answer the question regarding my retaliation. At first and quick glance, I don’t really strike back. But just as their rejection is subtle, so is my retaliation. It comes in the form of a bad attitude, resentment and most frightening to me: a gradual hardening of my own heart toward them.
So, in tears of repentance this morning, I ask God to make me more like Jesus. I am thankful I can imitate Christ by turning to God with what hurts. I am thankful Jesus bore my pain – even my sin – in this kind of real life battle with selfishness. I am thankful that as I seek to be filled with His love, He can forgive me, cleanse me and heal me. And I can rise from my knees, and truly ask God to bless them.
Because of the great exchange, where I traded my selfish, foolish, wandering heart for His steadfast, faithful and obedient one, I can actually sit here now and, with a love that flows from His heart, pray BLESSINGS on some dear folks today.
My heart is changed this morning. Their lives are blessed this morning. God is exalted! And once again …. I journey…onward.