“The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name.” Acts 5:41
What would it be like to rejoice in my suffering? To be filled with joy when I’m treated unjustly? It is so easy for me to get down on life when the going gets even a little bit rough. When I feel like the world is against my every move. When I feel unworthy to be around others. When I get to grow out of my immaturity into new skin.
I want to recall this desire to have joy like the apostles did when I’m in the midst of struggling. Even when my whole being wants to explode into a million pieces because of the injustice that was served me or the anger that I feel when I’m forced into a humbling situation. When I am sitting on my couch mulling over circumstances that are either beyond my control or way too minuscule to bother with. When my plans are broken.
The truth is: none of the things I suffer aren’t anywhere near being thrown in jail. Flogged. Falsely tried. Publicly reprimanded. Slapped. Spit upon. Crucified. It may feel bad, but it’s truly not.
This week I experienced a fairly new situation: being wrongfully accused. Most of the time, I am guilty (or at least somewhat guilty). I’m a sinner and I’ll be the first to admit that! This extremely confrontational situation gave me the chills, a way too powerful adrenaline rush hit me (and for those of you who know me know that I am not an adrenaline junkie), and hot tears were on the verge of spilling out for several hours after. It was not fun.
Injustice. Now I have an inkling of an idea how Jesus (and many of his followers) felt. When Jesus was being questioned and tried by the high priests and all the Pharisees and soldiers were throwing accusations in his face… he was silent. A lamb to the slaughter. Absolutely amazing!
I can sort of fit myself into this same scenario though. I obviously was not being crucified this week, and unlike me, Jesus knew his grill session was coming, but I can see the natural reaction (and the beauty) of his silence. My mind naturally resorted to this thought: nothing I will say can make any difference in the ending of the conversation. That in itself made it rather easy to be left speechless. I wonder if this was sort of the same feeling that the Lord felt. Nothing that he could have said would change the course of history. He was meant to be served injustice. And that unfairness actually changed the world.
Silence is also beautiful. In retrospect, I am really glad I didn’t open my mouth in retort. It probably would have just made matters worse with the offending party. I’m sure if Jesus would have been argumentative, the spectators would just be haters all the more. Sometimes silence just makes sense.
Jesus, thank you for the great mime model. The hands-on example you gave in the Gospels was rather effective in helping me become just a little more like you this week.