How Quickly Friends Can Turn On Us When We Are Ill

“All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this. They got up, drove Him out of the town, and took Him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw Him off the cliff. But He walked right through the crowd and went on His way.” (Luke 4:28-30)

My son recently made a new friend. We took him places, he came for a sleepover, he came to my son’s birthday party, they played after school nearly every day for a month. But last week the friend disrupted my son while taking a test (so the story goes…) and he got in trouble for it. So he told my son, “I am not going to be your friend anymore!”. and that was that. He has told my son this more than once, and likes to see the threat of taking away his friendship as a bargaining tool to get what he wants. I won’t play that game and I told my son not to either.

We’ve not seen him for days, plus they have a week off school, so they have not reconnected. My son is a bit bummed, but he has other friends and figures it will all work itself out. Thankfully, my sanguine-personality-child has not been devastated. But one moment he had a best friend. The next moment he did not. And he didn’t really do anything; the teacher was the one who gave out the consequences. It was out of his hands. Have you ever felt this way?

Reading through the books of Luke recently I noticed just how closely the time was between Jesus beginning His ministry and people wanting to throw Him off a cliff!

In Luke 4 we are told “He was teaching in their synagogues, and everyone praised Him” ( v. 15) and “All spoke well of Him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from His lips.” ( v. 22). But by verse 28, all the people in the synagogue were furious. . . They got up, drove Him out of the town, and took Him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw Him off the cliff.

Talk about a tough day! He had just returned from forty days in the desert fasting and dealing with Satan, He comes back to town and is admired greatly, and yet, He says one thing the people don’t like and He is led out of town to the edge of a cliff! And how did He respond? “He walked right through the crowd and went on His way.” (v. 30) Why did Jesus even allow Himself to be led out to that cliff? Did He want them to see how little their motives influenced His actions?

I know how hard it can be when people turn away, when you say one thing they disagree with, or they don’t approve of the way they see you coping with your disease or treating it. The crowd that turned on Jesus did not fully listen to what He said; they did not like His insinuation; they did not ask Him to clarify. Instead, they came to the conclusion that His death was the solution! They bullied Him and shoved Him. They pushed Him, and I am sure they yelled a whole lot of things as they led Him to the cliff-side.

Yet, Jesus simply walked through them and went on His way. He knew this was not how He would die. He knew God had a different plan for His life–and even His death! He knew trying to reason with the crowd was pointless. He knew losing His temper would not help. Even just talking to them, trying to explain that He actually loved them wouldn’t reach their closed ears and hardened hearts.

How much we can learn from this rarely told Bible story!

Prayers: Jesus, whe people form opinions and judge my actions without even talking to me about their feelings; when they are harsh in how they speak to me; When their motives are to validate their own selfish motives; Teach me to act as You acted on this day in Capernaum.

About the author:
Lisa Copen is the founder of Rest Ministries and she lives in San Diego with her husband and son. She is gradually learning how to balance motherhood, family, illness, and ministry, but she still knows it will be a lifetime lesson. You can see the books she has written, including, Why Can’t I Make People Understand? at the Rest Ministries shop.

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Have you ever experienced anger or judgement from someone who you believed to care about you? Have you lost friends because you were unable to see how to penetrate their hardened heart, and like Jesus, you chose to just walk past them and go on your way? What can we learn from how Jesus handled this situation, especially when it compares to other scriptures at tell us to turn the other cheek?

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