Monday, October 20, 2014

The Glory of Being Mocked


There is a glory to being mocked and ridiculed and receiving it without rancor or even inwardly recoiling because we feel strongly of the injustice. I have never been spit upon. I have never been whipped unmercilessly with nuggets of iron. I have never been blindfolded and punched in the face. I have never had my beard plucked out. I have never had nails driven through my hands and feet. I have never had a spear thrust into my side. I have never been put to death because I was innocent.

And yet must I refuse to bear the whips and scorns and injustices of this present world? If I reject the fellowship of His sufferings then how can I truly know Him? If I live with the same scales as the unbeliever then where is the difference? If I am offended when lies are spoken about me isn’t my pride exposed? We who profess Christ and yet live in a fallen and self consumed culture have too often allowed our lives mirror that which is not of Christ but is of the system of this world. Perhaps this is why the world cannot see Christ because they can only see who we project and cannot know the doctrines we so often rest upon.

But to in some small way experience a suffering which is unjust and unfair is an opportunity to more clearly reveal who He is through a selfless exhibition which outwardly is unexplainable and perhaps raises questions in the minds of those who know not Christ. We live in a fallen land where opportunities to shine His grace are plentiful. In an eternal perspective these sufferings are actually gifts which contain rewards all their own. We may not be awarded the same opportunities as did John Huss or Jim Elliot or many other martyrs, but all of us have been faced with glorious opportunities to suffer for His sake.

This issue is the very heart of Christlikeness. Most of the visible church in America knows nothing of Jesus and His ways. They complain about all sorts of things and they castigate those who they feel strip them of the rights they have in an earthly democracy. And in so doing they completely leave the majesty which speaks of Christ and they embrace a fallen and self serving culture which demands what seems to be rightfully theirs. But we have not so learned through Christ. In fact that is thoroughly at odds with the Christ we profess.

You see professing Christ goes much deeper than written doctrines and systematic theologies. The faith that truly professes Christ demands a level of self denial which offends the flesh and relinquishes the things and rights of this world. But, sadly, the church in America has long since moved away from such weakness and has raised the banner of earthly warriors when all the time victory can only be achieved through a denial of self and a loving and compassionate response to personal injury.

To see mocking and injustices as being toward Him and not ourselves brings us back to the cross. Can you not understand just how diametrically opposed to this world are the ways of Christ? Following Jesus does not require a better and more moral version of an earthly life. God forbid! The life which truly follows and exhibits Christ is a costly life. It will cost you your earthly opinions. It will cost you your earthly rights. It will cost you your personal defenses. It will cost you any retaliations. It will cost you earthly crusades. It will cost you your entire earthly life because it belongs to Him.

To be entangled with this world mocks Christ, but to endure personal mocking with grace lifts Him up. The Scriptures declare that if any man suffer as a Christian and receive it with forgiveness and grace he reveals the Lord Jesus. But it does not say if you suffer because of morality or capitalism or in defense of a national kingdom of this world. What a great tragedy it is to see that the much of the visible church lives in the reality which the kingdom of darkness has offered. Professing believers engage in moral crusades and political tit for tats and all kinds of confrontations with dead men. And the redemptive essence of the everlasting gospel is thoroughly diluted and compromised. And now, instead of the glory of Jesus Christ shining through selfless lanterns of His grace the church rejoices in the pottage of earthly elections. And if by chance some liberal or gay people or Muslims speak words of mocking and ridicule, well then, they might expect a retaliation which renders evil for evil.

Indeed, this can never be the faith which follows Jesus unless the New Testament is a complete fraud. And the question remains. How can someone who denies himself and who has died to himself be offended and retaliate when he is being attacked or ridiculed or mocked? Does that not reveal that he has not denied himself and that he still lives for himself and not for Christ? And in light of the New Testament teachings on willingly and gladly enduring such things, when we are offended does that also not reveal that we are disobeying the Word we say we believe?

We live in a culture which promotes individualism and personal achievement, and we are taught from birth to stand up for ourselves and don’t let anyone push you around. But those things are counter to a Christian walk. We must take inventory of all we hold dear in the church because much of it is unbiblical and unchristian. The One we claim to follow described Himself as “meek, and lowly in heart” but we have repacked Him and made Him a political activist and a harsh moralist and a strong capitalist. This, sadly, is another Jesus and not the Jesus of the gospels and surely not the Jesus of the cross. God help us to drain ourselves of ourselves so that He alone lives in and through us. And if along the way we mocked then let us receive it gladly as an offering of praise before our Master.

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