Weekly Thought – February 11, 2014
Fred stressed redemption. He talked of redeeming the time, experiences, and relationships. He wrote in You and Your Network of the importance of enemies. This month the emails feature his thinking on the value of including them in the evaluation of a personal network.
Each week we receive emails confirming the encouragement of Fred’s words. Thank you for your support. And, we certainly appreciate your financial gifts which allow us to continue our work.
The Power to Take Hurt
Through enemies we learn to take hurt rather than give it, thereby redeeming the situation. A young man in the congregation of Peninsula Bible Church (Palo Alto, CA) said, “If I meet a dude on the street and he starts calling me names, I am not going to try to understand him. I am going to make him stop; I am going to grab him and push him into the gutter.” Then he paused, “That is what I used to do, but I don’t do that anymore.” He found the power through Christ to absorb injustice and discovered the truth that a soft answer turns away wrath. This keeps the hostile situation from proliferating but also creates a question in the enemy’s mind: “What gives him the power to do that?” This, then, becomes the witness to the spiritual power for it is not natural to take hurt when you are capable of returning it.
The Catholic monk, Thomas A Kempis put it this way: “It is good that we at times endure opposition and that we are evilly and untruly judged when our actions and intentions are good. Often such experiences promote humility and protect us from vainglory. For then we seek God’s witness in our heart.”
As we start experiencing the superiority of divine over evil, we can say with the clergyman who was robbed:
Lord, I thank Thee. First, because I was never robbed before, second, because although they took my purse, they did not take life; third, although they took my all, it was not much; and fourth, because it is I who was robbed, and not I who robbed!
It may sound a little farfetched to say that the attacks of enemies open up opportunities for our help, but they do. Oftentimes, a person will strike out aimlessly not so much to hurt but to say, “I am hurting.” His attack is his call for help.
The beatnik writer, Jack Kerouac, convinced me that much of the hostility toward God in the 1960s was really an attempt to find God. When asked what it was he was seeking, he simply said, “I am looking for God.” He seemed willing to become an enemy of God so that God would notice and strike him. He actually needed to know God was there.
This week consider: 1) How do I deal with hurt? 2) When do I strike out? 3) What does a healthy emotional life look like?
Words of Wisdom: “Oftentimes, a person will strike out aimlessly not so much to hurt to say, ‘I am hurting.’”
Wisdom from the Word: “When we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in Aramaic, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? You are hurting yourself by kicking against the goads.’” (Acts 26:14 NET Bible)