Sometimes it’s hard to be a follower of Jesus

And no, I don’t mean because of persecution, I mean because of the inner struggle between my natural human tendencies on the one hand, and the desire to obey God on the other.

Jesus calls me to very high standards. He has every right: not only because of being God, but also because he actually lived as a human being on this earth and went through trials and temptations and never sinned – so he does know what it’s like, he’s not some lofty dude on a remote mountaintop dispensing advice whilst being totally removed from our experiences of life.

But Lord, you don’t know how much it hurts when… Yes, he does. So I don’t have that excuse.

Jesus tells me not just to love my neighbour as I love myself, but also to love my enemies, pray for those who persecute me – but Lord, it’s hard to love when someone is deliberately hurting you, maliciously being cruel to you, like they’re sticking nails in your… oh, right, I’m forgetting, you know what that’s like, and you said “Father, forgive them”.

Faced with the one who suffered all that – I am without excuse.

Oh, but this stuff about love being patient and kind, not taking into account a wrong suffered – surely that can’t mean I have to be patient with people who are maligning me? it can’t mean just standing there and hearing them and not standing up for myself, right? I mean… that would be like… like… like Jesus did when he was put on trial… like Jesus when he was publicly mocked…

It’s a tall order, yes, but it is what he calls me to, and he walked this road before me so he knows what it’s like.

My sinful human nature cries out: no, I don’t want to be loving and kind towards someone who is metaphorically sticking nails in my hands, I want to yell at them, I want to stand up for myself, I want to get back at them, to show them how wrong they are.

But I have chosen to follow the crucified and risen Jesus.

His way is not the easy way – it calls for sacrifice. But I know his way is right and good. And where else can I go? He is the one who has the words of eternal life.

3 thoughts on “Sometimes it’s hard to be a follower of Jesus

  1. It is written that there is a time for everything (Eccl 3). But it is often difficult to know when to patiently allow a person to express his frustration and when to gently and charitably correct his misapprehension for his good. Christ deliberately stood silent before Pilate because His silence at that moment was pursuant to His plan for our salvation, namely, to willingly suffer and die on the Cross to redeem fallen man. He was not silent at other times: for example, when He corrected the errors of others or when He taught His people how He would have them interpret the Law and the Prophets. Thanks for this thought-provoking post. I look forward to reading your blog in the future. Shalom! God bless!

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    • thank you. Let me clarify: I am not talking about correcting people for their own good – I’m talking about the desire to stand up for ourselves when we’re hurt, to yell at the person hurting us, to get back at them, sometimes to restore our hurt pride, that sort of thing.

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