A time or two I know you’ve felt unwanted. Unappreciated. Misunderstood – sometimes intentionally so.
Hurts, doesn’t it?
I was reading in 1 Corinthians 4 during quiet time. The Message calls us “Messiah’s misfits”. I snuffed when I read it. You know–when you force a breath through your nose, usually when you’re finding something either hard to believe, OR you completely agree? Perfect derision, right? ‘Corse, if you’re having a sinus issue, you might want to cover your keyboard and pull down the blind on your keyboard.
Yeah. I’ve felt that way. Jerks for Jesus. Poked fun and taken advantage of. Overlooked. Passed over for promotion. Again. Sneered at. Cussed. Cheated.
Listen to this: “When they call us names, we say, “God bless you.” When they spread rumors about us, we put in a good word for them. We’re treated like garbage, potato peelings from the culture’s kitchen” (vv. 14-16).
Okay, let’s think about this. It’s disarmingly easy to enthusiastically nod and say, “Yeah! That’s exactly the way I’ve been treated, and WAY too often! It’s like they know we have to wear the white hats and play nice, so they don’t have to–and take real satisfaction as they DON’T!”
Wait. As Jesus taught, if you’re a disagreeable, sour, gripey model of a Christian whose facial default is always and forever a frown, why should you be surprised when nonChristian types want nothing to do with you? They’re just acting with common sense–and I have to say I’d be in their corner, too.
An intentional Messiah’s misfit? A Fabian Christian? Nah. Not interested. And I can’t blame others looking on for showing zero interest.
It’s worth much to my witness for Christ to take a hard, serious look at myself. If there’s an unhappy grimace on my face? If I’m a constant whiner about how rotten life is and how I never get any breaks? I ain’t zackly a positive testimoany for Christian wonderfulness, am I? And it matters none how many worship services I attend, how loud I sing, how long I pray, etc. People aren’t stupid.
Non-Christians learned long ago to knock off listening to all the palaver and began just watching our walk.
OTOH . . . If my heart is totally tuned to God’s freq and I’m seriously intent on being authentic in following Him, then I have a legitimate issue.
“Hey, Lord? Did You see what they did? Again? Were You paying attention to all that junk they were passing around about me? I decided to just stop trying to set things right, ’cause it’s become clear they don’t mind me getting ahead: they just don’t want me getting ahead of them. They mean to cause trouble for me. They’re trying to mess me up, discourage me, make me quit. I mean, Lord, do you have any idea what this is like? Do You?”
To which Jesus replies with His half-smile and droll rejoinder:
“Yeah. I think I have a handle on it.”
As I duck my head to the right, realizing how silly it sounds for me to ask Jesus Himself if He understands how I feel, it dawns on me. He’s “been there” before. He knows the value of not squalling for help at the first sign of serious pushback because of God’s Spirit at work in and through Him.
And He did. And because He did, we can, too.
I used to smugly think “Because Jesus suffered and put up with what He did, I don’t have to.” My thinking has grown up a little. I now think, “Because Jesus withstood far more than I ever will, His example gives me the steel in my spirit to stand up to whatever He allows to come against me with a champion’s outlook and a winner’s attitude. It’s because of Jesus’s stand that I’m a Spirit Warrior, not a widdow, whiney wimp.
“Messiah’s Misfit”, hunh?
On second thought, it kinda has a ring to it–don’t it?
© D. Dean Boone, March 2015