Recently I was in a conversation with someone just before our trip to Israel. When they asked me who I was going with, I was met with raised “eyebrows” and “criticism” and a look of “disapproval” when I told them the name of the group and the pastor that we were going with. This friend said something about the fact that he had “heard” about this pastor losing his temper with the airlines over a lost bag. At the moment I didn’t bend down to the ground and scribble; I was in a restaurant. But I have learned in these situations to “visualize myself like Jesus,” bending down and scribbling and actually praying for the right response if it requires one.
Do you ever feel that you are under attack? Maybe verbally? Judged? Or criticized for the decisions you make? I think if you live long enough, you will find at times you feel this way…….maybe daily, weekly or monthly. I have found a great thing to do when “under attack” that helps me gather myself and my thoughts and allows Jesus to guide me is to mimic Jesus.
If you read John chapter 8, you find the teachers of the law and Pharisees were looking for a way to trap Jesus. John 8:6, “They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.” The setting behind this verse involves a woman they caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and then said to Jesus, “…Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery. In the law Moses commanded us to stone such women, Now what do you say?” (John 8:3-5).
Here is the lesson…WDJD? (What did Jesus do?) John 8: 6b, “but Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger.”
I love it…Jesus started scribbling. I see Him living the scripture found in James 1:19-20. “When they kept on questioning him (bullying), he straightened up and said to them, Let anyone of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” AGAIN HE STOOPED DOWN AND WROTE ON THE GROUND” [John 8:6-8, emphasis added]. I love what happened next in verse 9, “At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left.”
There are so many lessons we can learn from Jesus. The following lesson is one I learned about 6 years ago. It may seem far-fetched to you but it’s a lesson I have implemented over the last 6 years. Just Wow! It has been a great tool that helps me stay composed and live the scripture found James 1:19-20, “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.”
Scripture also teaches a “gentle answer turns away wrath but a harsh word stirs up anger” (see Proverbs 15:1). Jesus answered a question with a question. I love it.
When I felt judged for my decision about Israel and who I was going with, I visualized and prayed about what to do or say. God was faithful and gave me the right response. I said, “Well, I don’t know about that (because I didn’t) but what I do know is that I probably need to write the airlines too. I have lost my temper with the airlines before and with many other services.”
You see, I wasn’t aware of the situation that the person was referring to…but what I do know…is that the person in question loves Jesus. The criticized person is visibly leading others to Christ and has given their life to ministry. Are they perfect? NO! But neither am I.
It also convicted me that I need to be very careful about judging. My friend who brought up this pastor with luggage issues is a great friend and Christian. Like that person, I have stood in judgment and criticism of others before, especially when I didn’t have all the facts.
I have been working on NOT judging but leaving that to God…to find the “good” in others …and celebrating that good….for extending “grace” and also…working to please God and not man.
I want to encourage you, if you want to be more like Jesus, study not only His words, but His actions. He teaches us so much and when we stop and ask Him, HE will give us the right response, especially when we feel judged or under attack. We just have to STOP and ASK. :o) He is faithful always to respond when we inquire of Him.
Something to think about today: visualizing bending down and scribbling in the sand allows you to be quick to listen and slow to speak…and slow to become angry…..it also gives you time to pray for the right response. He is faithful, He will give you the right response:)