Friday, January 13, 2012

Punch in the Throat

Have you ever been punched?
The other day my friend was dancing around in their house with all the kids and his wife, small as she is, and she accidentally kneed him in the nose. That really hurts. I told him that should bring a new appreciation for when you see an MMA guy get punched in the nose 50 times in a row. When you're messing around or in an environment of sports you somewhat expect to get banged around; it's not a great surprised. But if you get punched and you're not expecting it that's another story.

Not too long ago I went to a game. I was hanging out visiting with some friends and there were people coming and going. A friend of mine for the last 15-ish years walked into the game as we were all standing there. As they walked by I stuck out my hand to greet them and said "How are you doing?". The response was a punch in the throat. They refused to shake my hand and only said "No thank-you".

We shoot our wounded.
It seems that in the church today often times when we are upset with others instead of going to them we just write them off, talk bad about them, turn our backs on them or just shoot them and leave them for dead- because after all "They are dead to me" doesn't work too well if you don't treat them like they are really dead, right?

As Christians we should be accustomed to being ill treated; like less than a friend and more than an enemy. There should be people that we expect will give us this sort of treatment. I expect it bc they have come to me and told me their issues and I understand where they are coming from but I still disagree. We are not seeing eye to eye on any number of things. The surprise is when the last time I saw my friend there was nothing said and I had no idea there was anything between us.

Brotherly Kindness
I am not saying that I have all the answers. I am not saying that I don't sin. I am not saying that there is perfection in my direction right now, but aren't we told in Gal. 6:1 that if we see someone caught in a sin- I have to assume that in order for someone to treat others so hatefully that they think I am personally in sin- that it is the job, the responsibility of the more mature one to go to that person and attempt to restore them in a spirit of meekness?

Hatred and meekness are not the same things. Did this person really think that the way to win me back, as a brother, was to not be willing to shake my hand? Is punching someone in the throat the best way to start a dialoge? Isn't the Gospel all about restoration of enemies? Jesus didn't come to earth to punch us in the throat as a way of get us to submit to His authority.

Yet Without Sin
Jesus is our Supreme Example in all things and this too is a good reminder. Jesus came into the world to save sinners. He, unlike me, was without sin and didn't deserve any of the ill treatment we gave Him. He was oppressed and afflicted and yet He didn't even open His mouth. He didn't call anyone to defend Him against an indefensible humanity He created and yet He came to save those that hated Him. He was a servant to death on a cross for US.

The Perfect Example
May His Spirit empower us to live and love each other even when we disagree. May He enable us to absorb those punches and still be joyful, as He was. The mockery, the spitting in His face, the crown of thorns, the cross and death were real and they were painful for real. He left us His Word as a guide in times like these and these vv remind me of how I am supposed to live.

Heb. 12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

Do not Grow Weary

3 Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. 4 In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.

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