Tag Archives: Jews

Refusing to Return the Insult

Story of the Day for Monday October 3, 2011

Refusing to Return the Insult

                    When they insulted Jesus, he refused to return the insult. 

                                                                1 Peter 2:23

 I know a guy who wears a grumpy face and looks like he just flunked out of Charm School. When I smile at him and say “Hi,” he normally just scowls and says nothing.

 

While driving through northern Wisconsin, I was listening to the radio and was jolted by the words of a Jewish man who survived the Nazi holocaust.

After Hitler’s regime collapsed, some Jews were intent on seeking vengeance against the Nazis. They were plotting how to torture those who had worked under Hitler.

But the Jewish holocaust survivor on the radio said he would meet a fellow Jew and ask, “Do you like the Nazis?”

“Like them!” the other man would spit back, “I LOATHE them!”

“Then, why do you want to be like them?”

 

When we lash back against those who have hurt us, we inevitably begin to resemble the ones we’re angry with. “They hurt me.” we conclude. “Well, I’m going to give them a taste of their own medicine.”

We become like the ones we hate.

We may not be aware of it, but when we fall into this way of thinking, we surrender our freedom to decide how we will behave. We relinquish that prerogative to those whose behavior we find disgusting. If they’re snotty to us, then we’ll be snotty to them.  But we must understand clearly: our adversary is now the one calling the shots.

 

Jesus never let others dictate how he would behave. When they hammered his body on a cross, his enemies smugly assembled to taunt him and enjoy their triumph. But Jesus refused to trade insults or make threats.

Jesus’ enemies didn’t choose his behavior; he did.

 

Michael Green tells a story that goes something like this: A man goes to a newsstand to buy a paper. He politely asks for a daily newspaper and the man working at the kiosk rudely shoves it at him and, muttering, hands him his change.

As a friend observes all this, he asks the man as they walk away, “Does he always treat you so rudely?”

“Yes, I’m afraid so.”

“And are you always so polite to him?”

“Yes, I am.”

“Why are you so nice to him when he’s so rude to you?”

“Because I don’t want him to decide how I am going to act.”

 

My sour-faced friend may never smile and return my greeting. He doesn’t have to. He doesn’t get to decide how I choose to behave.

                                     (copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)

 

How Dare You Judge Us!

Story of the Day for Monday September 26, 2011

How Dare You Judge Us!

                     He was despised and forsaken by the people. A man of sorrows, acquainted with grief. 

                                                     Isaiah 53:3

 On the great Judgment Day, when all stand before God, some in the teeming crowd began to raise their voices. They weren’t weeping with cries of shame or remorse. They were angry.

One of them shouted to those around him, “How can God judge us?”

“Yeah,” shouted a woman, “what does God know about the kind of life and suffering we had to go through?” The woman lifted her arm to reveal the brand of a tattooed number from a Nazi concentration camp.

“Our persecution was unimaginable. We endured beatings, torture, and death!”

A black man stepped forward. “What about this?” He lowered his collar to show an ugly rope burn around his neck.

“Lynched!  For the crime of having dark skin.” He spoke bitterly of the injustice he and his people had suffered: betrayed by Head Hunters, forced into slave ships, separated from family, and forced to live without recourse to justice.

 

Soon everyone had their story to tell. They spoke of the shame of being born an illegitimate child. Lepers painfully recounted what it was like to be an “untouchable” and to live isolated and lonely.  A businessman told his story of financial success – only to be betrayed and defrauded by his friend and business partner, and to die broke.

A movie star edged closer to the center of the complaints. The crowd sneered at her as one who didn’t know what it was like to suffer misfortune at the hands of God.

But the movie star won them over. Through tears, she recounted her life of celebrity. Everybody wanted to know her, but she could trust no one. Wherever she went, she was hounded by crowds pleading for autographs, paparazzi chasing her every move and selling every unflattering photo to the scandal magazines, who created false or misleading headlines of her personal life.

“How would you like it,” she asked, “if, whenever you try to sneak away for a short vacation, you are swarmed by those who could care less about invading your privacy?”

The crowd murmured their approval, and included her in the group.

 

The indignant crowd chose leaders to approach God’s throne and present their grievances. They chose a Jew, a leper, a black, and an untouchable from India. On behalf of the others they presented their case before God.

“How dare you judge us! You sit here removed from the temptations and sufferings we endured on earth, and now you have the gall to judge us for our anger and failure and retaliation against those who hurt us?” Another added, “You don’t know what it’s like to endure what we have on earth.”

There was silence while the leaders awaited God’s response. Then someone stood up before the throne. He stretched before them his nail-pierced hands.

And, in that moment, they realized that God had already served his sentence.

                                                               (copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)