Are you someone who worries about what other
If you're not, then you are fortunate indeed. But if you are, then you know the pain that comes from being falsely accused. You know how much it cuts into the self-esteem when someone turns your own words and actions against you. You can relate to the anger that bubbles up with each taunt. It isn't fair, it isn't right!
And you're right! It isn't fair to be falsely accused. It isn't right to have your words and actions turned against you. It hurts to be taunted and made fun of!
Jesus knows all about this kind of pain. From the moment of His arrest until His last dying gasp, He was falsely accused, mocked, and ridiculed, and His words and actions were turned against Him. Let's look at some examples:
Jesus was falsely accused: "But at last two false witnesses came forward and said, 'This fellow said, "I am able to destroy the temple of God and to build it in three days."'" (Matt 26:60 NKJV)
He was also abandoned by His closest friends: "Then all the disciples forsook Him and fled." (Matt 26:56 NKJV)
He was severely mocked: "Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole garrison around Him. And they stripped Him and put a scarlet robe on Him. When they had twisted a crown of thorns, they put it on His head, and a reed in His right hand. And they bowed the knee before Him and mocked Him, saying, 'hail, King of the Jews!' Then they spat on Him, and took the reed and struck Him on the head." (Matt 27:27-31 NKJV)
And in the moments of His greatest suffering He was laughed at by everyone, from the chief priests to the scribes and elders of Israel, to the soldiers, to even the thieves on the cross: "And those who passed by blasphemed Him, wagging their heads and saying, 'You who destroy the temple and build it in three days, save Yourself! If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross.' Likewise the chief priests also, mocking with the scribes and elders, said, 'He saved others; Himself He cannot save. If He is the King of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him. He trusted in God; let Him deliver Him now if He will have Him; for He said, "I am the Son of God."' Even the robbers who were crucified with Him reviled Him with the same thing." (Matt 27:39-44 NKJV)
Would you and I have been able to stand up to this?
I'd like to say that I could, but I know myself. I can get approval from everyone on something I've done, but if there is one in the crowd that isn't happy, I'm upset.
But Jesus was immune to all of this! Not only did He stay strong, He also loved His enemies, asking God to forgive them: "And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the criminals, one on the right hand and the other on the left. Then Jesus said, 'Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.'" (Luke 23:33-34 NKJV)
Because He knew that God approved of what He was doing, and that was all the approval He needed!
Friends, we are no different! Just like Jesus, it is only God's opinion of us that counts. We are accountable to Him, and Him alone, and if we are following His lead, then we do not need to be hurt by the fiery barbs hurled at us by fellow human beings.
I truly believe that one of the most powerful lessons God will ever teach me is to stop looking to others for understanding and fulfillment. The day I learned that the opinion of the world doesn't matter, I was set free:
1. I was set free of the need to have to prove myself: I was transported outside of the world's ability to hurt me, and my self-esteem became strong.
2. I was set free of the need to be the judge: Those who have hurt me are those in desperate need of His grace and my love and support ant prayers. Not of my judgment! After all, God is the judge, and those who hurt me are accountable to Him and Him alone.
3. I was set free to love my enemies unconditionally, to forgive them, and to pray for them.
Friends, when we look to others for emotional support and acceptance, we are, in essence, putting up idols in our lives. We are putting the opinions of humans above God's. Jesus didn't succumb to this temptation on the cross. Instead, as He went through the worst emotional abuse known to man, He remained strong. He looked to God for His acceptance and support, and in the end, not only did He have the fulfillment of having paved the way for the salvation of mankind from a sure and painful death in the fires of hell, but He was also raised again in glory, as King of the universe!
Jesus got the best reward! He got the stamp of God's approval!
Friends, the next time we find ourselves in a situation where people don't agree with us, where we have someone mad at us, or worse, where we are mocked and persecuted, let's remember Jesus' example! Let's look to God for approval! His reward will be eternal!
Please join us next Saturday as we make our way through Lent for THE SUFFERINGS OF JESUS, Part 4: The Floggings.
In His love,
Lyn Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two teens, Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, www.scripturalnuggets.org, with Answers2Prayer Ministries, www.Answers2Prayer.org.
(To access the entire "The Sufferings of Jesus: A Lenten Series" mini-series, please click here.)