"'Whoever gives an honest answer kisses the lips.' Proverbs 24:26 This is a love affair with truth."
It stands out in my mind because just a few days ago I lost a "friend" because of Truth. This woman who went through confirmation in her youth, two years of bible school with me, and went on to Northwestern Christian College afterward, claims to have at one time "known" Jesus but now denies Him. She also denies the validity of the New Testament as the Word of God and claims that the worship of Jesus is "nothing short of the most practiced form of idolatry of our time". She has completely abandoned The Faith.
In our short time of discourse it became abundantly clear that "reasoning together" though said to be welcomed, was not welcomed at all. She even called it a "joke". Truth was perceived as "threats" and "insulting, demeaning attacks" and she became hostile in her responses basically saying to me, "(her heart has) NO Room for (my) little explanation of god". Her parting words to me were, " I WILL NOT bow to your tiny god ever again".
This exchange and many others like it, got me thinking even more deeply about Jesus. Psalm 69:9 says, "zeal for your house consumes me, and the insults of those who insult you fall on me". During my exchange with this woman it was clear that in her hostility she was trying to insult me and my faith in Christ. But I was not insulted. I never became angry or personally indignant. This is because her insults though intended for me, fell upon Jesus. He bore them 2000 years ago when he was beaten, insulted and hung on a cross in my place.
"Let every sin, every rebellion and every rejection of Your will hang over our lives like a notice of conviction upon a cross. And when viewing that cross, help us to realize that though WE deserve to be the ones hanging there under that conviction, we need not and dare not believe we can bear it. Help us to see Jesus, having come under that conviction and endure that cross in our stead. And give us tears to weep and repent of all that He bore for us."
This quote, from one of my prayer journal entries, came as a result of the realization that though Jesus was perfect in every way and did not deserve the insults and beatings and death He received, nor God's wrath for sin , He willingly subjected Himself to those things entirely. He didn't even afford Himself the least form of self defense. Even the most peaceful and non aggressive persons in the world defends themselves by at least withdrawing into a cocoon of self preservation in the form of an emotional disconnect in order to insulate themselves from pain. But Jesus didn't even afford Himself this option. Instead He consciously and willingly subjected Himself to ALL of the pain and sorrow that we deserve. And because He did this, I no longer need to bear the burden of such great sorrow that accompanies the hatred that often times others direct at me personally because of my faith and love affair with Truth. In my life I have had ample opportunity to "grow" through such situations. But it wasn't until I realized that Jesus not only bore my sin and the wrath of God, but also the pain of the insults and rejection of others, that I experienced liberation from my battle with bitterness and "hurt". It was a timely realization too. For the older I get, the more I see the world changing at an ever increasing rate. People no longer even hide their evil. They are openly hateful toward God and His children. Reality is this; more and more people are rejecting the Way, and the line defining those who belong to God and those who are of the world is becoming more clear every day.
We are told, "Just as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the Son of Man." (Luke 17:26) And scripture tells us that at that time, the thoughts of men were "only evil all the time". That means that even the good things that they thought, said and did were evil. Even the love they had for their children and families was evil...because they were without Truth. Just like many today, I'm sure they rejected God and His word and tried to redefine what IS, to make their own creation of a more acceptable "truth". I'm sure there were many "religious" people who lived at that time...but their religion was worthless, based on lies and false assumptions, rooted in self will and rebellion. We are told that we will see more and more of this as time goes on. Those who call evil good and good evil will do so blatantly and without shame. Are you ready?
Can you bear up under the sorrow of seeing family and friends abandon The Faith? My assertion is this; You do not need to bear up under such sorrow. Jesus did it for you. So in light of this fact, keep on preaching. Keep on teaching. Keep on praying. Keep on loving. And be willing to extend yourself even as the rejection and insults of others increases.
Scripture tells us that in the end times the "love of most" will grow cold. This, I'm sure, will be the result of the unbearable sorrow that accompanies the realization that friends and loved ones are rejecting and abandoning The Way. We love so deeply and hurt so greatly for them that many of us will withdraw into our cocoons of self preservation causing the "love of many to grow cold". But Jesus never did that. He experienced it ALL willingly. Dear children of God, let Him bear your sorrow. Remind yourself daily of your redemption from even the pain of the insults and rejection of others for His Name's sake.