When We’re Hurt or Offended

Yelling

Jesus reached out to people everywhere he went because he cared about everyone he met.

With amazing grace and relentless love, Jesus encountered and connected with people. He demonstrated grace, forgiveness and compassion. He didn’t manufacture it. He didn’t fake it. He didn’t hold back. Jesus was authentic and down-to-earth.

Our Savior opened his heart and extended his hands to others. He cared, and people knew it. He touched, and people felt it. Jesus was gracious, loving and compassionate.

He greeted, accepted and helped people. He acknowledged and affirmed them. That’s why so many people were attracted to him—and that’s why they followed him.

They knew Jesus cared with no strings attached. They saw him serve with grace and humility.  They watched him heal miraculously.  They heard him speak boldly and gently.

And yet, Jesus was so misunderstood and maligned.  Clergymen criticized him.  Friends deserted him.  Leaders hated him. Sinners accused him. Soldiers hit him.

The religious Pharisees and Sadducees tried to trick and entrap him. They hated and rejected him. That’s why they plotted to capture and kill him.

Our sinless Savior was betrayed by a fickle friend and arrested by Roman soldiers. Falsely accused and condemned.  Bullied and mocked.  Disrobed and whipped.  Speared and crucified.

Our gentle Shepherd was condemned by an agitated mob. And yet he endured everything without getting angry or lashing out. He refused to strike back, choosing instead to forgive.

But when you and I are hurt and offended by others, we often say and do things we shouldn’t. We give in to that ugly urge to get even. We plot revenge. Get defensive. Attack and retaliate. Spit venom and say hurtful words. Go after a pound of flesh.

But not Jesus. He did nothing of the sort. “When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly …” (1 Peter 2:23). He didn’t say a word when the crowd harassed and hurt him.  He didn’t summon his holy warrior angels when the soldiers struck him.

Our Savior did something so radical and unexpected. He didn’t retaliate. He didn’t seek revenge. Not even once. Instead, he endured awful abuse and intense suffering with unusual dignity, joy and strength. He extended undeserved grace—and forgave freely.

That’s what Jesus taught and did—and that’s why Paul taught, “Do not repay anyone evil for evil” (Romans 12:17). Our Savior endured extreme suffering—and demonstrated how to respond to the hurts and wrongs of life.

Today, Jesus invites and empowers us to follow his example and walk in his footsteps!

 

Called to Follow Jesus

Boat

One day, Jesus was walking along the shore of a lake, where he saw two fishermen. He watched, as Simon and Andrew stood inside their battered boat, working a big net in the water.

They were fishing—doing what they knew best and loved most. The brothers were sweaty and smelly, tired and tenacious—doing what they’d learned from their hard-working father.

Every day, they’d drop a net into the lake. After a while, they’d pull it out of the water and into their boat, hoping it’d be full of fish.  All day long, they’d do it again—and again.  They were determined men, intent on catching fish.  It’s what they did for a living.

But Jesus was “fishing” for men who’d drop everything to follow him. He was bent on calling and equipping ordinary men to impact the world.  Far from perfect, but real.  Struggling, yet hopeful.  Twelve men with dirty feet and broken hearts, just like you and me.

Our Savior was looking for men who’d answer his call. Leave behind what was safe and familiar. Risk sailing into uncharted waters.  Commit to a cause bigger than life.

Jesus first called Simon and Andrew—and then, he called two more fishermen, James and his brother John. Mark 1:18 says, “At once they left their nets and followed him.”

Before long, Jesus had hand-picked called eight more men: Phillip, Thomas, Bartholomew, Matthew, James son of Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot, Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot.

This band of rag-tag ruffians followed Jesus for three years. As he taught, they listened and learned.  Soared and struggled. Compromised and deserted.  Panicked and ran away.

They were short on faith and patience. Quick to jockey for position and power.  Rough around the edges.  Puzzled by what they saw and heard.  Confused and distracted.

But Jesus never gave up on his followers. He patiently taught and explained the Scriptures.  He gently affirmed and cared for them.  He loved them.

That’s why Jesus pursued his disciples, not long after he died and came back to life. That’s why Jesus met with his followers to encourage and empower them.

The Bible says, “Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always…” (Matthew 28:17-18).

Jesus called and commissioned them (and us!) to go and share the good news with everyone—and to baptize and teach believers everywhere to follow and obey Jesus. They did that—and turned the world upside down!

Will you answer Jesus’ call, obey his command and share the good news?

 

 

What Scares and Shakes You?

earthquake

For over 30 years, I lived in Southern California—the land of “rock-n-roll”—where I experienced a number of large earthquakes (6.0 and bigger!) and their aftershocks.

I’ve felt the ground move and buckle beneath my feet. Stood in tall buildings and felt them sway. Watched wall-hangings and knick-knacks crash to the floor. Gulped as the ground cracked. Froze as big glass windows shattered and scared people scattered.

Just so you know, when an earthquake hits, you’re supposed to duck and cover or stand inside a doorjamb—away from any glass—and stay put until it stops. I’ve done the drill many times.

I’ve also watched people as panicked and bolted for the exit. Scared, they made a run for it. They freaked out in the face of fear. They got anxious and forgot what to do.

I wonder what rattles your cage and unnerves you—or ratchets your world and upsets you.

Hurtful words. An angry spouse. A defiant child. Family conflicts. Broken relationships. Fickle friends. Sudden setbacks. Sky-rocketing prices. Speaking in front of people. Taking an exam.

Different things disturb us at different times in different places. It’s part of life.

Two gnarly warriors—Joshua and David—felt the grip of fear. These tough guys lost their nerve. They trembled. They were intimidated and terrified. They felt anxious and afraid. That’s why God whispered words of hope and shouted a call for courage to them.

Joshua heard God say, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9).

David declared, “When I am afraid, I will trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid” (Psalm 56:3-4).

Often, Joshua and David looked beyond their circumstances and emotions to find hope and courage in God.

What will you say and do next time you’re shaken or scared? Friend, the choice is yours. You can run and hide. Flip out and collide. Or trust God and abide.

Here’s what the Scriptures recommend for tough guys and scaredy-cats:

Trust God and stand firm. Put your hope in God, not your best circumstances. Rest in his strong grip, not your puny strength. Be courageous and confident.

Remember, God is with us—no matter what happens. God is with us—no matter what we do or where we go. He’ll never abandon us. He’ll always stay with us.

That’s why we can trust God, rely on his strength and stand courageously and confidently!

 

 

 

Living Courageously

Moose Bull

For over 30 years, I lived in Southern California—the land of “rock-n-roll”—where I experienced a number of large earthquakes (6.0 and bigger!) and their aftershocks.

I’ve felt the ground move and buckle beneath my feet. Stood in tall buildings and felt them sway. Watched wall-hangings and knick-knacks crash to the floor. Gulped as the ground cracked. Froze as big glass windows shattered and scared people scattered.

Just so you know, when an earthquake hits, you’re supposed to duck and cover or stand inside a doorjamb—away from any glass—and stay put until it stops. I’ve done the drill many times.

I’ve also watched people as panicked and bolted for the exit. Scared, they made a run for it. They freaked out in the face of fear. They got anxious and forgot what to do.

I wonder what rattles your cage and unnerves you—or ratchets your world and upsets you.

Hurtful words. An angry spouse. A defiant child. Family conflicts. Broken relationships. Fickle friends. Sudden setbacks. Sky-rocketing prices. Speaking in front of people. Taking an exam.

Different things disturb us at different times in different places. It’s part of life.

Two gnarly warriors—Joshua and David—felt the grip of fear. These tough guys lost their nerve. They trembled. They were intimidated and terrified. They felt anxious and afraid. That’s why God whispered words of hope and shouted a call for courage to them.

Joshua heard God say, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9).

David declared, “When I am afraid, I will trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid” (Psalm 56:3-4).

Often, Joshua and David looked beyond their circumstances and emotions to find hope and courage in God.

What will you say and do next time you’re shaken or scared? Friend, the choice is yours. You can run and hide. Flip out and collide. Or trust God and abide.

Here’s what the Scriptures recommend for tough guys and scaredy-cats:

Trust God and stand firm. Put your hope in God, not your best circumstances. Rest in his strong grip, not your puny strength. Be courageous and confident.

Remember, God is with us—no matter what happens. God is with us—no matter what we do or where we go. He’ll never abandon us. He’ll always stay with us.

That’s why we can trust God, rely on his strength and stand courageously and confidently!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Courageous and Confident

earthquake

For over 30 years, I lived in Southern California—the land of “rock-n-roll”—where I experienced a number of large earthquakes (6.0 and bigger!) and their aftershocks.

I’ve felt the ground move and buckle beneath my feet. Stood in tall buildings and felt them sway. Watched wall-hangings and knick-knacks crash to the floor. Gulped as the ground cracked. Froze as big glass windows shattered and scared people scattered.

Just so you know, when an earthquake hits, you’re supposed to duck and cover or stand inside a doorjamb—away from any glass—and stay put until it stops. I’ve done the drill many times.

I’ve also watched people as panicked and bolted for the exit. Scared, they made a run for it. They freaked out in the face of fear. They got anxious and forgot what to do.

I wonder what rattles your cage and unnerves you—or ratchets your world and upsets you.

Hurtful words. An angry spouse. A defiant child. Family conflicts. Broken relationships. Fickle friends. Sudden setbacks. Sky-rocketing prices. Speaking in front of people. Taking an exam.

Different things disturb us at different times in different places. It’s part of life.

Two gnarly warriors—Joshua and David—felt the grip of fear. These tough guys lost their nerve. They trembled. They were intimidated and terrified. They felt anxious and afraid. That’s why God whispered words of hope and shouted a call for courage to them.

Joshua heard God say, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9).

David declared, “When I am afraid, I will trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid” (Psalm 56:3-4).

Often, Joshua and David looked beyond their circumstances and emotions to find hope and courage in God.

What will you say and do next time you’re shaken or scared? Friend, the choice is yours. You can run and hide. Flip out and collide. Or trust God and abide.

Here’s what the Scriptures recommend for tough guys and scaredy-cats:

Trust God and stand firm. Put your hope in God, not your best circumstances. Rest in his strong grip, not your puny strength. Be courageous and confident.

Remember, God is with us—no matter what happens. God is with us—no matter what we do or where we go. He’ll never abandon us. He’ll always stay with us.

That’s why we can trust God, rely on his strength and stand courageously and confidently!