Reacting like Jesus
Chatting with Craig recently, we felt we landed on something profound – and kept coming back to 2 Corinthians 5.
What if we reacted to people the way Jesus did? When we are abused, maligned, mistreated, misunderstood, falsely assumed – how do we react in a Godly way?
The manager who’s busting your buns.
The player who’s abusing your refereeing.
The person who said those nasty things.
The estranged relative.
The misbehaving child.
v16 says “from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view.”
No-one. Not ‘our brothers and sisters in Christ’ – we regard *no-one* from a worldly point of view.
How do we see everyone – even those hostile to us – as Jesus did, as an estranged son or daughter of God who just hasn’t been properly introduced yet?
Jesus had the advantage of knowing everything about those he encountered, but also what they were thinking. Thanks be to God, we have the less overwhelming version – the Holy Spirit. If we have ‘ears to hear’, the Spirit will show us what to say in that situation – even if it sounds quite odd or ‘out of our mind, as some say’ (v13).
Jesus knew what was going on in the life of the woman at the well – we don’t know what’s making that person be such a so-and-so towards us, or indeed everyone else. Maybe they just haven’t ever been pulled up for how they behave, but the loving word in season can cut to the heart of the ache they have which only Jesus can heal.
So why do we fear how they will respond – because we ‘take it personally’? Who is this ‘person’ we refer to – v15 says “those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again”. The person’s reaction – or more so, the spirit in them – is reacting not to *you* personally, but to Christ in us (of course, if we have responded as the Spirit led and not, say, with a riposte or sarcasm)
So when Craig parked marginally into a person’s car driveway, when he came out abusing Craig, the Spirit led our brother to say “Forgive me brother, for I have sinned against you.” The bamboozled complainant went away speechless.
That’s being “Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.” (v20) If we were a good ambassador for Australia, our first reaction to an affront abroad would not be our personal interest, but how our reaction would reflect on our nation.
For some of us, we get trapped in a performance mindset, feeding on the approval of others. We want to be liked. Yet that ‘me’ is not me any more, in Christ we are God’s ambassadors. The one to ‘take personally’ how people react to us is God – how freeing!
Give it a go today. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you in a situation that is frustrating, annoying or grieving you. Be free, and walk by faith, not by sight! (v7)