I remember when I first got to seminary. I was a young 25-year-old who knew everything because, well, I had the Bible and that was all I needed. However, being part of a Reformed denomination, I was told that if I wanted to be a pastor, I needed to go to seminary. So on my first day, I waltzed into a class and a really well-known theologian was my professor. At one point that day, when he made an assertion about something, I stood up and literally said to him out loud, “You’re wrong!”
He didn’t lash out at this point nor did he make me feel embarrassed, he simply began asking me questions. As he worked on dismantling my argument one probe at a time, I gradually lost confidence in my position and sat down feeling like a sucker. It wasn’t long before I realized that I had stepped right into his masterfully-designed trap. He was trying to teach us a valuable lesson. He wanted us to know what it might one day be like to field questions and arguments from congregants. The point I want to make about this wonderful man is that never once did he shame me for my arrogance or disrespect. In fact, it was just the opposite. He befriended me quickly and took me out to Coco’s afterwards for pie to calm me down.
Friend, I want to encourage you to be a person like this. When someone powers up and does you wrong, overcome their evil with good. In fact, put the shoe on the other foot and imagine what it would feel like if you, in the midst of a struggle, sin, or blatant wrong, were caught. But rather than being punished, you were shown unexpected mercy. I am almost certain that such an experience would teach you more about the character of Jesus than chastisement ever would! When your position is challenged or you are unjustly accused, if you respond calmly and compassionately with joy and love, the wrong done to you will be swallowed up in grace. The result? Jesus will shine! Isn’t that great news?