The reality of that statement really cut to the quick in me as I savored its meaning in the midst of my own situation. I must admit that I have extended relatives that I have been ashamed of because of the way they are dealing with my wife’s health concerns. I have been ashamed and embarrassed by actions they have taken (and maybe more importantly, NOT taken…) as well as by judgmental comments they have repeatedly made to family and friends. I have had to fight through strong feelings of anger, neglect, frustration, total astonishment, and disgust. Then just as I feel I have handed it over to the Lord, something new pops up! So what do I do?
The Word says that Jesus isn’t ashamed to call you and me, these particular members of my extended family and those Christians who may have said and done things that would anger and/or embarrass you - as members of His family!
As I dwelt on that verse in my mind today, I wondered if He ever had to deal with those same thoughts, feelings and hurts as I have. And I came up with a resounding YES! Later on in that same chapter of Hebrews in verse 14 it states that “because Jesus experienced temptation when he suffered, he is able to help others when they are tempted.” (God’s Word ©) Another scripture tells us that “He was tempted in every way that we are, but he didn’t sin.” (Hebrews 4:15 God’s Word ©)
Jesus was verbally and physically abused on the way to and while He hung on the cross at Calvary. At the very end of all that excruciating pain and anguish, there was only one of his faithful apostles that stayed with Him. How do you think that made Him feel? I would imagine that the twelve disciples must have become like family to Jesus during the three intense and close years He spent with them. Then when He probably relished and needed their companionship the most, they seemingly deserted Him! I bet He was more than slightly tempted to be a little upset about their response!
But you know… after His resurrection I can’t find a place in my bible where He mentioned any of this to the apostles and others followers He appeared to. He even made a point to reinstate Peter and give him a top position in the fledgling church! I heard a sermon yesterday that proposed the idea that since Jesus already took all that verbal and physical abuse on our behalf that we don’t have to carry the weight of people’s abusive words toward us today.
So what do I do with those feelings that are swirling around in me? I give them to Him… and then I give them to Him again when new embarrassing and shameful words and situations reappear! Easy… right? NO its not! But it is what needs to be done because they are family and “love makes you willing to forgive many sins” (I John 4:8 Easy To Read Version) It is interesting to me that the one apostle who stuck with Jesus to the very end was John, who was known as the Apostle of Love!
For me it continues to be a life lesson about the practicality and power of the love of God working in, for and through me! How about you? Have a great week. Stay in tune to His Word, and keep asking yourself… “What am I expecting today?”