Have you ever been hurt by someone? I mean hurt as in offended by someone you trusted or even just an acquaintance? Someone has let you down, or betrayed your trust, or by their actions in some way seemed to suggest that your relationship with them is not as valued as you had thought? It’s a rhetorical question because at some point and to some degree we all have been offended and we all have been the offender, intentionally or not. And the injury can be devastating.
Would it surprise you to know that you don’t have to be hurt by these offences, at least not in the same way? Our natural response is self-focused; to protect ourselves either by attacking or retreating from the offender. Neither response is Christ-like. Oswald Chambers had a fascinating observation about Jesus in how he related to those around him. He noted that, “Our Lord never put His trust in any person. Yet He was never suspicious, never bitter, and never lost hope for anyone, because He put His trust in God first. He trusted absolutely in what God’s grace could do for others.”
The key is that Jesus was focused on God as he related to others. Therefore even when his closest friends abandoned and rejected him he was able to respond with their best interests at heart because his driving concern was what God was doing in them, not what they were doing to him.
But there is even more for us. In Romans 15 Paul is talking about getting along with one another saying that we need to be more concerned for the wellbeing of others than for protecting ourselves. Then in verse 3, Paul applies Psalm 69:9 prophetically to Jesus: “The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.” In other words, Jesus took the wounds of the offences that have been directed at us on himself. Therefore, even though we may feel sorrow, or grief, or even pain, the otherwise devastating wounds have already been borne by Jesus and by his strength we are enabled to respond and relate in the best interests of others. This doesn’t equate to being walked all over, but rather is a picture of compassionate strength and courage.
Again, the key is being focused on Jesus. When we are intimately connected and identified with him we will see others in the same way he does. Even wounds we have carried a lifetime will be transformed by his grace at work in our lives. Isaiah 53:5, by his wounds we are healed.