I want you to imagine that you just got out of church. It’s a pleasant time as you mingle with fellow Christians and catch up on your week. As this is going on, you notice someone’s voice is a little harsh.
It’s the guest speaker- talking to a few deacons.
“You unbelieving and perverse group of people! How long do I have to be around you? How long must I put up with you?”
Immediately, I can say, that does not sound like something we would hear in church. A guest speaker who spoke like that would not be invited back.
Nobody would want to be associated with him. In our culture, that is committing societal suicide.
That “rant” is not something I made up, however. That is a paraphrase of Jesus Christ from Matthew 17:17.
He wasn’t speaking to the Pharisees. He was speaking to his own disciples.
They were trying to serve and minister. They were even in the process of asking for His help! Imagine coming to your pastor asking for help with a trouble child in the youth group and he starts saying this to you.
The loving and accepting God of the universe. The God who came to die for us.
Jesus Christ, the perfect picture of love and righteousness.
That’s what He said.
I think we can learn two things from this.
First, there are times when we deserve to be harshly corrected. Correction and criticism are not welcome in our culture, but maybe they should be. Maybe the reason so many of us struggle with living rightly, is that we’ve neglected to allow for the constructive criticism of others.
Second, even Jesus was frustrated with people. I think you only need to spend a few minutes on the internet to understand how frustrating people can be to each other. Jesus wasn’t impervious to the annoying nature of people. He had probably already taught his disciples multiple times how to resolve the present situation. They just weren’t getting it. They weren’t doing their spiritual homework and they weren’t putting the effort in. Jesus was frustrated. He was probably thinking about how many people were missing out on God’s blessings because the disciples were not being diligent.
I would submit to you: Humble yourself. Be ready to receive correction, no matter how harsh it feels. Our culture has taught us that love means coddling.
Jesus didn’t think so.
And if you find yourself annoyed with people’s incompetence or laziness, you’re not alone. Jesus was pretty annoyed too. But perhaps you should search your heart before you open your mouth. Christ always said the right thing, you and I may need to say a prayer before we speak. 🙂