Jesus always lead by example. After He had washed the disciples feet, He instructed them to model what they had just witnessed. For Jesus had demonstrated to them in simple terms what it was like to be a servant. I can imagine after three years of traveling with Jesus and witnessing countless miracles, the disciples were feeling pretty full of themselves…so having Jesus wash their feet was probably not only confusing, but embarrassing to all of them. But by modeling true servant hood in its unassuming and unpretentious way, Jesus illustrated humility to all mankind.
Jesus loves us with an unconditional love…it has no bounds…no restrictions. But can we love each other in the same way? Maybe it can be in what we don’t do that can show the love of Christ more effectively to those around us. Instead of yelling in anger and frustration at the kids…we don’t. Instead of becoming upset and disappointed with a co-worker…we don’t. Instead of allowing discouragement and despair to break apart our marriage…we don’t. For sometimes the greatest way to demonstrate God’s love to others… is in what we don’t do.
Some later manuscripts show this verse as saying, “Bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you.” Either translation is a tall order to fill. For we are a people who retaliate at the slightest notion that we’ve been wronged. Taking revenge and repaying evil with evil is touted and even celebrated in today’s social media. But this verse tells us to do the very opposite. And our example should be Jesus, who in I Peter 2:23 demonstrates, “When they hurled their insults at Him, He did not retaliate, when He suffered, He made no threats. Instead He entrusted Himself to Him who judges justly.” Taking the high road in the face of cruelty may be a clenched fist, gritted teeth type of grace under pressure, but allowing God to fight your battle is worth it in the end.
Ask yourself what you hold dear today. What is it that’s precious and cherished in your life? Is it sitting in the garage, or on your wrist, or proudly placed in your house for all to see? Or are they intangible, incorruptible things that only come from a heart where the Holy Spirit abides? Jesus tells us that if our priority is gathering up wealth and riches down here on earth…our heart will soon become a haunt of unclean lusts. But if the things we value are Godly and right, we will have treasures in heaven that will never be exhausted. (Luke 12:34)
The concept in this Scripture is very clear…forgive so that you may be forgiven. So why yet do we find so much pleasure in holding onto grudges? What starts out as a simple miscommunication or disagreement, morphs into something with a life all its own. Anger simmers, and shifts into resentment…frustration stews over how we’ve been wronged, and slowly changes into spite and hard feelings. Holding grudges only harm ourselves…they allow the root of bitterness to take hold and flourish within…and they prevent God from working fully in our lives.
It was done mostly in obscurity…off in the background at a wedding in progress. Only a few people were even aware that the wine was gone. They included a few servants and the disciples of Jesus that witnessed this miracle of changing something as basic as water into something extraordinary as fine wine. Now the wedding party did benefit and were wonderfully blessed by His first miracle…but it was the people who actually saw it with their own eyes that were powerful and eternally changed by it.
David and his men were holed up in the Desert of Maon where a wealthy landowner with thousands of sheep and goats pastured his livestock…his name of Nabal. He was married to a beautiful and intelligent woman named Abigail. David and his men had protected Nabal’s shepherds and sheep…so when shearing started, his men had come with greetings, looking for favor…but instead, found insults being hurled at them by Nabal. When David got wind of this, he gathered his men to launch an assault on the household. Meanwhile, Abigail had been told of her husband’s faux pas and quickly intervened by packing up a large quantity of provisions, and setting off to intercept David. When their paths crossed, Abigail was able to very eloquently and diplomatically change David’s mind…and so halting the annihilation of her entire household.
No matter how we work and strive to live a perfect life…we’ll never come close. For in Titus 3:5 it says, “He saved us not because of the righteous things we have done, but because of His mercy.” God’s wonderful and unexplainable mercy is gifted to us before we are even aware of our need. Malachi 1:2-3 states, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” To further illustrate this profound concept, Jesus tells us in John 15:16, “You did not choose Me, but I chose you…” The Lord’s compassion and kindness towards us is beyond our mental capacity…His desire to save us, beyond our comprehension.
Maybe it’s hearing someone’s answer to pray…maybe it’s a praise report…or maybe it’s hearing that someone you’ve been praying for has finally come to know the Lord. Whatever it is, joy and thanksgiving almost explodes from us as we listen to others praising and thanking our Heavenly Father. Sharing God’s miraculous works is so important to all of us. For when we share…we all become encouraged and uplifted!
God is faithful…keeping His covenant of love to a thousand generations. (Deuteronomy 7:9) He is trustworthy, just, and true, unlike anyone else on this planet. For others will betray you…even those professing their love for you. But God will never go back on His Word. He can be trusted…so in turn, we can believe in Him. And in that confidence, springs hope. (Hebrews 10:23)