And the daily routine has crystallized itself in my life and my time in Israel is now becoming a treasured and blessed memory that continues to inform my existence. I enjoy teaching immensely although I must admit that at times it does put a strain on one’s cognitive abilities . I am slowly coming to the realisation that God too enjoys teaching his children and never wastes an opportunity to shape us for citizenship in heaven. The Master teacher uses parables and I say uses because he has never stopped teaching using His word and the Holy Spirit in our lives, but before I begin, I need to ask you a question?
When was the last time “You” were offended?
I’m not talking here about a minor offense that’s easily overlooked although I do admit at times I’ve let those kind of offenses get to me as well. No, I’m talking about the kind of offense that goes to your very core and which starts to grow its tendrils and hooks itself onto some distant memory from your past, which only serves to feed and empower the feeling of offense in the first place. The worst kind of offense I believe, is one that causes you to question your worth. Here’s the dictionary definition; ” To cause displeasure, anger, resentment, or wounded feelings in… “ Now, you might be thinking to yourself, “Michael did this happen to you?” And you be right if you did think this and yes God did and has used these events to remind me of his sovereignty in my life.
An offense occurs when an expectation of one’s worth is in some way reduced by an event or by a person, which then causes one to either rant and rave, get depressed, have a felt need to exercise your ‘right’ or all three together to put that person/s in their place. Also known in psycho babble, as a state of dis-empowerment. Usually, the reaction to a state of dis-empowerment is to correct that imbalance in some way, usually through unpleasant means. And by Jove did I conjure up an vocal arsenal of unpleasant means by which to correct this state of imbalance. I was on my way to becoming Palpatine’s next Sith apprentice.
I’m not going to go into all the juicy little details of what happened firstly because I can’ be bothered writing about it and secondly it’s not necessary for the purposes of this post. What I would like to share is the goodness of Christ in his dealings with me.
Firstly, I’m reminded in scripture that when Jesus was arrested, HE “refrained” from exercising HIS rights and remained quiet. In Matt 26:53 Jesus goes on to say “Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels”?
Twelve legions hm-mm…lets put this in context, the Roman army was in control of the land, so how many Romans to a legion. Figures vary, but generally a full strength legion had about 6,000 men on paper…the reality was that most legions were under strength and had about 5, 300 soldiers….
The Lord as we are told had 12 legions not of soldiers but of warrior angels (we can infer this as they were grouped in fighting order with the reference to ‘legions’) made up of 72,000 angels waiting for the command to swoop down and save the Darling of heaven from wretched sinners. I would have thought that one angel would have done the trick. Yet, HE didn’t call on or exercise his right, but instead deferred to the master plan of the Father by saying, ” But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen this way“? Matt 26:54.
What is truly amazing to me as I examine this part of scripture is that Jesus had an out- there was an escape plan for HIM if he chose not to go through what was about to happen. All he needed to do was to call on the Father and 72,000 angels were ready and waiting to rescue him from the clutches of evil men but for the sake of Scripture and the Father’s will he went along like a lamb to slaughter… for my sake and yours and anyone else who chooses to have faith in HIM.
So if the Lord showed restraint…what am I supposed to do when faced with accusations that cause offense. I don’t have legions of angels – imagine what a sinner like me might do with angels at my disposal to wreak havoc on anyone that dares to step on my toes.
What I do have within me is far greater than angels and is the Holy Spirit, the same spirit of restraint that Jesus has, is now at my disposal and when I choose to defer to HIS ways the Holy Spirit empowers me to live and respond like he did.
The second fact, I realised is that I have no rights…. scripture is clear in this… that I was purchased at a price, a possession of God (Eph 1.14)…a slave of Christ. What true slave has rights? In ancient times a master -slave relationship is no way akin to the relationship between an employer and an employee. The master owned the slave, he bought the slave and the slave had no rights other than which the master chose to bestow. In the same way I have no right to act as I ought… a hard lesson to realise and even when learned harder to practice.
Thirdly, we are never tempted beyond what we can bear and God always gives us a way out of the temptation. The trick is to be discerning enough to recognise the ‘out’ or way given…and it might mean that is only a tiny door but make sure to go through it. I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I have recognised the way out but chosen to ignore it and satisfy my flesh. This time however, I did take the ‘out’ offered and as soon as I did, felt an incredible peace and instead of rage just felt an amazing compassion toward that particular person. So for next time…and there will be a next time….1)take a deep breath, 2)exercise restraint, 3)look for the provided way out, 4)take the way out and 5)be blessed!
I want to thank you for taking the time to read and would appreciate your thoughts, experiences and anything else you’d like to comment on. Some of you have already commented on my previous posts and I’d like your thoughts on whether I should continue this blog…if you find some value in it being continued, otherwise I’ll be offended….now where is that angel… 🙂