It’s an old, often derided saying, “What would Jesus do?”
Sometimes it’s a question we need to ask and however painful it is, we need to be honest when we answer. I’ve had an email tonight (it turned into a series of emails) about a grievance someone has against some others. I think of the joy in my last blog, the love and joy evident in our church in that little video and it contrasts painfully with this latest correspondence.
You know, folks, listen cherubs, all you who are younger and even (is it possible?) dafter than me – IT’S NOT WORTH IT! It’s not worth whispering about hurts, hugging our offended feelings, justifying our indignation. Let go of it! Forgive each other.
It’s just plain wrong to keep these things in the shadows, it’s just plain destructive, to involve others. If you need to get it off your chest how hurt you are, and how unfairly you’ve been treated, do yourself a favour – tell the person involved. Don’t spread the misery. Don’t pollute the water. Don’t email me, for starters.
Is that what Jesus would do? Nope. And again I say, “Nope.”
It’s a short and sorry story and both sides are so very very clearly in the wrong. From top to bottom. One quick to give offence, thoughtless and cock-sure, and one quick to take offence, injured and self-righteous. There’s ego, arrogance and youth on one side, and ego, hostility and age on the other. The common denominator then… ego. Great big egos. And both sides seem to positively relish being at daggers drawn. Horrible. One has whispered it to me, the other has whispered it to someone else.
We are told very clearly what to do when this sort of thing happens, by none other than Jesus himself ‘If a fellow believer hurts you, go and tell him—work it out between the two of you. If he listens, you’ve made a friend. If he won’t listen, take one or two others along so that the presence of witnesses will keep things honest, and try again.’
And Jesus doesn’t qualify how much the fellow believer might have hurt us. So whether the other person has called us names or killed our granny, there’s no justification for stirring up trouble against them. Forgive whoever hurts you, however they hurt you. I can tell you, from personal experience, forgiveness takes a great big crippling weight off your back. It took a great big crippling weight off my back. Forgive, and forgive. You can’t love without forgiving. And we’re told to love everyone, as Jesus loved us.
This is The Message version of 1 Corinthians 13:7
Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.
Jesus has the answers. We have to listen to them. And do something about them. Like obey.
Flip me, we’re a messy lot.
But our God is lovely and He loves us, cranky and selfish as we are. Amazing God.