Posted by: Judy | July 6, 2016

Link to Grace For My Heart

Grace For My Heart talked about “Forgiveness or Boundaries.”

https://graceformyheart.wordpress.com/2016/07/01/forgiveness-or-boundaries/

It struck a chord with me as this is something I’ve been thinking about of late. It tied together some things I’ve noticed in my Bible study.

Jesus taught through example. At the beginning of His ministry, He made a habit of moving from town to town. If He knew the “powers that be” were seeking Him, He’d slip out of town, often in the middle of the night. He didn’t seek trouble. In fact, He went to great lengths to avoid trouble.

However, there came a time, when the leaders were forewarned and waiting for Him. Jesus didn’t slink away or avoid the confrontation. Instead, He faced it head on, no backing down. Jesus had a sharp tongue. He had no trouble calling a hypocrite a hypocrite. He didn’t attempt to spare feelings. His power of sarcasm was brutal. “You are like whited sepulchers, beautiful on the outside but filled with dead men’s bones and all uncleanliness.” He really said it, to their face. Sometimes He was blatant, and sometimes He left them to convict themselves. “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”

He played their game and bested them, with skill.

He teaches how to handle confrontations. I found it fascinating that more often than not He would answer a question with a question. What’s so fascinating about that? I grew up hearing, “Don’t ask a question with a question. It’s rude.” I was trained to obey that dictum and to ignore what Jesus taught. I’m unlearning what I have learned. It’s amazing how powerful the tactic is and relatively painless, except for those who have something to hide.

I was also taught to never discuss religion and politics. “Religion is a cultural system of behaviors and practices, world views, sacred texts, holy places, ethics, and societal organisation that relate humanity to what an anthropologist has called ‘an order of existence.'” God is a God of order, not chaos. To Jesus, everything tied back to God. I also find it fascinating that so many “Christians” are preaching against religion. Wait… what? Do they understand that Jesus appointed apostles to lead and preach? He organized how the people would be taught so they were all learning the same thing, as opposed to watering down His teachings with what people found more comfortable. People are all too willing to add their own interpretation to what is really quite simple and straight forward. Religion is not a dirty word. Really.

Yes, Jesus was a Jew. Being Jewish is both a religion and a race. Jesus’ teachings were radical, revolutionary. He never denied either His race or his religion. As the Son of God, He fulfilled certain laws, ending the need for things like animal sacrifice. Christians are simply people who follow Christ’s teachings. If they don’t follow Christ’s teachings or they corrupt those teachings, it doesn’t matter what they call themselves.

Jesus taught: By their fruits you will know them. An apple tree won’t produce oranges. If a Christian follow’s Jesus teachings, you can see it. Jesus taught to not simply listen to what a person does but to watch what they do. Do the two coincide?

He also taught that if you truly love Him, you’ll obey the Commandments. If you’re not obeying, you’re not following. Blessedly, that’s another gift Jesus provided: Repentance, the opportunity to recognize a mistake is made, to make restitution if possible, and to change whatever needs changing.

I know a number of people who are not “Christian,” however, their behavior is more Christian than many Christians I know. I also know Christians who exemplify all that is good. They brought out a desire to be better simply by being around them.

Redefining words, banning words, like “religion” doesn’t change anything except make it more difficult to communicate. Abusers redefine words all the time. It’s the only way they’re able to blame the victim.

Jesus taught three ways to deal with confrontation.

*Walk away

*Speak up. It’s important to note that He listened first, and then responded as He deemed appropriate.

*Turn the other cheek

Isn’t it interesting that abusers demand the last one and condemn the other two?

**Note: There is a place for anger, but that’s a different post.

Jesus taught turning the other cheek before He exemplified it.

When is turning the other cheek appropriate? When there is no other choice; it cannot be avoided. It wasn’t until the end, when He was out of options He submitted.

Easter Weekend, Jesus stopped dodging. He accepted the time had come. Even so, He continued to respond until it reached the point of no return, and Jesus knew it. He didn’t waste His breath on repeating Himself. He could no longer walk away. Words were useless because no one was listening. Jesus turned the other cheek.

As I allowed the lessons to sink in, I recognized all the mistakes I’d made along the way. I should have walked away a long time ago. I didn’t. I have all kinds of excuses. Some of them legitimate. Some of them sabotaging myself.

I often attempted to “explain” or accuse, as a preemptive strike. Again, not what Jesus taught. I am learning to listen, wait, and frequently reply with a question. It’s amazing how many discussions end with that simple tactic.

I’m feeling backed into a corner, with no other options. Following Jesus example of turning the other cheek is difficult. I want to defend myself, even as I know how useless it is.

I’m not a punching bag. I’m learning to use “avoid” more often. I’m much better at answering a question with a question. So much pressure is relieved. I don’t have to reply right this second. I’m allowed to think and consider. When there is nothing else within my power to do, I give the battle to God. He is aware. Not easy, but maybe easier now that I’m cognizant of the choice I’m making and why.

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Responses

  1. So good written. Most Christians just preach to turn the other cheek. It’s seldom I hear anyone talk about walking away and to give an answer which ends the discussion.

    I’m gonna come back to this text again

    • Hope it helps.


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