“I endure scorn for your sake, and shame covers my face.”
There is nothing so bitter as doing good, only to suffer evil for our efforts. We expect to suffer consequences when we fail, but when we resist temptation, pursuing what is right, and then are accused and punished for things we did not do . . . such injustice is insufferable.
So, in keeping with the old adage, “fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me,” we learn to avoid becoming vulnerable to such injustice, vowing “never again.” We learn to recognize those who might abuse us and flee from them. Indeed, we may close our hearts to the needy, knowing they will likely take advantage of us.But that is exactly the opposite of what Jesus did. Though he deserved nothing less than the Father’s favor and the allegiance of his people, he emptied himself of self-interest, set aside his power, and let himself be misrepresented, unjustly accused, mistreated, laughed at, scorned, beaten, crucified and even mocked while he was dying. He was not powerless to stop it; he willingly endured it for the sake of his Father, who had chosen to show grace to his enemies. As Dietrich Bonhoeffer noted:
God lets himself be pushed out of the world and onto the cross;
God is impotent and weak in the world yet specifically and only
so that he is with us and helps us.
And now, because we are the recipients of such blood-bought grace, He calls us to imitate the Son’s self-denial. His call is not about foregoing chocolate or lattes for the forty days of Lent. He calls us to a life of suffering injustice without bitterness, of facing scorn and derision unafraid, even of enduring pain and death without losing hope. He calls us to a life of giving ourselves away expecting nothing in return, all for the glory of our Savior, who continues to show grace to undeserving people like us.
~Pastor Bert Hitchcock