Have you ever had anyone say something to you in such a vile manner that it left you wondering what you did to provoke such hatred and such wickedness? If so, you are not alone.
Recently, I had someone leave a review of something I had written. It was, to say the least, seething with anger. Each line of her criticism, was meant to tear down something that I had worked on for years. Her statements were exaggerated and inaccurate, but it didn’t matter because she was able to do so with nothing more than a few keystrokes, typed behind the cover of her computer for everyone to read. Her unjust rant would do what it was meant to do, namely put doubt in other people’s minds about what I had written. It left me wondering and thinking about it for days.
The more I thought about how easy it is for people to sit behind a keyboard and type out hateful spews and go on rants, the more I thought about Jesus Christ. He was not immune to hateful outbursts, nor was He immune to others saying things that were inaccurate about Him. He was the King of receiving insults and attacks and, in the end, He died because of the hatred leveled against Him. But little did all the haters know that His death was actually part of God’s plan to bring about Salvation- even to them!
Yes, Christ was the ultimate receiver of hate! He was the one that I had to turn to for an example of how to deal with people who behave in such a manner. One of the passages that I found where Christ teaches about this is found in Luke 6:28-29. It states: Bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also.
Blessing those who curse us and praying for those who mistreat us is very difficult. He didn’t say it would be easy. He just said to do it. And honesly, I did. I prayed for this person. Not a spiteful prayer like that her computer would break or anything like that – though I was tempted! But I prayed for her salvation. Surely someone who spews hatred so easily is a very unhappy person and probably doesn’t know Christ, and if she does, well…she has some cleaning to do in her spiritual house.
The other thing that I did was absolutely nothing. I turned the other cheek. I didn’t respond to her, even though I wanted to! Everything in me wanted to reach out, but I didn’t. I remained silent. After all, that is what Christ tells us to do. This is another hard thing to do because you don’t get the opportunity to clear up any inaccuracies, lies, or anything else that is being said. You simply say nothing.
My mother used to love the saying, “The cream rises to the top.” Many of you might not know where that originated from, but many years ago, (No, I am not that old!), milk was delivered in glass bottles to your home. The “watery” part of the milk would settle while the good, thick, yummy stuff – the cream- would rise to the top. That became an analogy over time to mean that the best or the truth of a situation will eventually come to light. I cannot tell you how many times that this has proven to be the case.
Didn’t that happen with Christ? He prayed for God to forgive the very people who insulted Him, beat Him, mocked Him, and killed Him. He didn’t argue even when standing in front of Pilate. He turned the other cheek. He took the beatings, the earthly humiliation, and then died a brutal death on a cross. But in the end, He arose from the grave and is currently sitting at the right hand of God the Father. His silence while He was walking on earth speaks heavenly volumes today, doesn’t it? Would it have mattered if He tried to debate those who hated Him and spoke lies about him?
And so I want to encourage you today that if someone is speaking lies about you or criticizing you for something that is unfounded, take a step back. Instead of inflaming a situation, do your best to follow the example of Christ. Remember, you are the cream! You can and will rise above the situation!