Our pastor shared from this text yesterday. It is the story , beginning in Mark 10:17, of the rich young man who came to Jesus and asked him what he should do to inherit eternal life. This man had a very elevated view of his own righteousness, saying that he had kept all of the commandments from his youth. (Come on, get real.) He probably thought that he was going to get a pat on the back from the ‘Good master’ that he had come to see.
Yet Jesus, looking right through him, knew exactly where he was at and what was needful for him to do. He pinpoined exactly that one thing that the young man lacked and invited him to sell everything he had, take up his cross, and follow Jesus. What an invitation. This man could have been a disciple. Yet his achievements and status and posessions meant too much to him and he just couldn’t give it up.
Yet, still, Jesus loved him. That word beholding there means to ‘discern clearly’. Jesus knew what was in that guy’s heart, he knew that that man would probably reject him, nevertheless he loved him.
Same thing with Judas, though Jesus knew that he was a thief, and that he’d betray him, he still walked with Judas all those years…he even made a covenant with all of his disciples (including Judas) on the night he was betrayed …knowing they would all forsake him. (Did he wash Judas’ feet? I’ll have to go check…) When Judas came to betray him he called him ‘friend’. I think that if Judas had only repented after betraying Jesus, he would have been restored…
Pastor spoke on how to handle betrayal and rejection from those whom you have loved. He was really talking from his own experience (one that I witnessed first-hand since the couple in question were close friends of mine) and I can’t share that long story on this blog, but it boils down to a willingness to die to yourself, your pride and your rights and to love the other person anyway.
He mentioned the scripture in Ecclesiastes which says:
Ecc 10:4 If the spirit of the ruler rise up against thee, leave not thy place; for yielding pacifieth great offences.
When others rise up against us in judgement and reject us, we should stay in the place of fellowship with Jesus, who is our peace and the source of our strength, and yield…not to the abuse of others, but to the working of the Holy Spirit in our lives through this situation.
This word ‘yield’ comes from the root word Raphah, which means to mend (by stitching), to cure, (cause to) heal, repair, thoroughly, make whole. When we yield to Him and let Him work something in our hearts through the pain and despair of rejection, we find that his healing starts to flow in our lives and those around us. Yielding to God even in our moments of pain, and loving those who have hurt us despite the fact that we have ‘beheld’ them (warts and all), might just be the thing that extends healing to ourselves and them.
This is an extremely hard thing to do, it is a process, and it requires lots of grace, and a willingness to be broken, yet I have experienced for myself that the times that I have felt the Lord’s tender presence the most acutely was in my broken times. Those were the times that I have learned about his sweetness, his mercy, his infinite kindness more than at any other times. It is when we lift our bruised and battered hearts before him and he comes in and pours his balm of Gilead all over us that we see Him for the sweet saviour that he is and fall in love with Him all over again.