Monday, September 11, 2017
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Our grandson was loving kindergarten. He loved learning and he loved the friends he was making there. In fact, there were very, very few bad moments since he started school. But, there was one. His teacher had to leave early that day, so for the afternoon she put him in an art class with older students. He was the only "little kid", you know, in the room. That was okay as long as the art teacher was there, but it suddenly wasn't okay when she left the room for a short time. The older kids started to pick on him verbally and say the mean kinds of things that school kids are really good at saying. That night, our grandson was in bed and mom was there to sing and pray with him. As he debriefed his day, he talked about the mean things the older kids had said. But amazingly, he didn't seem angry with them. He said, "Mommy, I know why those kids are mean. It's because they don't have Jesus in their heart." Wow! So, the next day he took action on that insight. He took little bags of candy to those kids with a little Gospel booklet inside.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Seeing the Need Behind the Deed."
I couldn't help thinking of that often-quoted Biblical statement: "a little child shall lead them" (Isaiah 11:6). That's actually a prophecy about Jesus, but it sure applies in this situation. A six-year-old boy has shown me-and all of us-the Jesus-way to respond to those who wound us.
There's no more dramatic example of that than the account in Luke 23:33-34, our word for today from the Word of God. The Bible says: "When they came to the place called The Skull, there they crucified Him, along with two criminals...Jesus said, 'Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.'"
Honestly, I can't read that without being amazed at how Jesus responds to having nails driven through His hands and feet and being hung on a criminal's cross. He's dying what many have called the most brutal death ever conceived. And what does He say about the men who have nailed Him there? "Forgive them. They don't know what they're doing." He looks beyond the horrific things they've done to Him, sees that, and sees that because of their sin, they don't have a clue what they've done, and He asks for them to be forgiven.
I'll tell you, as someone who belongs to this Jesus, I can't just say, "Oh, isn't that wonderful!" No, Peter says, "Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in His steps" (1 Peter 2:21). We're supposed to be like Him! In Matthew 9:36, the Bible records what Jesus saw in the teeming crowds around Him, "When He saw the crowds, He had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd." Others might have looked at them and seen their selfishness, or their meanness, and their disruptiveness. You know what Jesus saw? He saw their lostness. Everywhere He went, He saw the needs behind the deeds-all the way to the cross.
And that's how He wants us to be. It's how you're supposed to look at the people in your life who've hurt you; who might be hurting you right now. They need love, they need healing, they need forgiving, they need a chance-they need Jesus.
Usually people are wounders because they've been wounded. If they were lying on the street bleeding to death physically, you'd probably try to help them stop the bleeding. But see, they're bleeding emotionally, and they've bled on you. They need your compassion, not your anger, not your retaliation-even your children, your parents, your church leaders, your friends.
Step back from their bothersome actions and ask God to help you see what He sees when He looks at them, including the needs that are driving their deeds. Instead of just reacting to their deed, do something about their need. When you do, you're literally extending the love of Jesus as He extended it to you. They act like they do because they need to be touched by Jesus through you.