Story of the Day for Monday January 30, 2012
Who’s Calling the Shots?
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)