“God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers. Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven.”
(Matthew 5:11-12, NLT)
Having just had a conversation about the manner in which people speak to one another, I found this Scripture to jump off the page. It was timely as I was tending to a few wounds myself from words recently spoken to me. I hadn’t shared the words with anyone but my husband.
I’ve noticed people who seeing nothing wrong with being sarcastic or making a rude comment to each other. They seem to think as long as they put “LOL” or a smiley face, the sting is lessened or made less offensive. We slap each other down or talk demeaning without a thought of how it may affect another person. For days.
And I remember the Scriptures I had read -Â “God blesses you.., Be happy about it…. Be very glad!” (and yes, the exclamation point is there in the NLT).
So I wondered…. surely this Scripture means something other than to be happy when words sting. It must. I pulled out my commentary, one new to me even, and read ….
The second verb is compounded from two Greek words that mean (literally) “to leap exceedingly,” The response is to be unbridled joy.
(from New International Biblical Commentary, Vol. 1, Matthew, page 41)
It had now gone from bad to worse. It was bad enough when He wanted me to be happy or glad (!). Now He wants that I jump up and down about it with unbridled joy? So I stewed a short while about it as my thoughts ranted in my head. There had to be something I was missing about this all. And I was 🙂
People are, in fact, getting ruder and more sarcastic. They are shooting their mouths off. They just plain are. It should not come as a shock to me. Jesus warned that many will turn away and betray and hate one another. He said hearts would grow cold towards Him and to one another (Matthew 24:9-12).
We are further told what will become characteristic of people as time marches on … lovers of themselves and their money, boastful, proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unloving, unforgiving, counting nothing as sacred, slanderous, no self-control, betraying their friends. Ugly list, isn’t it? But check it out for yourself as I did not write the list (2 Timothy 3:1-5, NLT).
In order for our hearts to remain soft and feeling, we are surely going to need to do a better job of guarding our hearts. We are going to need to be deliberate if we are going to be counter-cultural and remain polite and kind and sensitive to one another.
I went back to the whole leaping and unbridled joy issue at hand. What is my response to be? Am I truly being told to be happy at being hurt? Jumping up and down with joy that words have stung?
No, rather I think this is what my response should be …
He blesses me at those times when words have stung deeply. As I respond in a way to please Him, somehow He steps in and brings healing to the sting. As He heals my heart, He refills it with compassion and understanding. He blesses me with more of Himself. And in that I experience unbridled joy. To retaliate and sting back would be to miss the blessing He has for me. The blessing which brings joy is in remembering – He has called me, I am His, and I am fully and completely loved.
“Blessed are you when people insult you.”
Don’t miss His blessing.