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Next Time Think About Jesus
Pastor Joe Giacometti ©2004

The next time someone “bothers” you, think about what Jesus did for you. The next time you have an “issue” with someone, think about what Jesus did for you. The next time you’re unwilling to forgive someone, think about what Jesus did for you. The next time you hold a grudge against someone, think about what Jesus did for you. The next time someone stabs you in the back, think about what Jesus did for you. Are we really so selfish in this life that the minute something’s not working out for our best we’re willing to pass off other individuals for the better of ourselves?

When I think about someone being stabbed in the back “figuratively,” the best example I can think of is the disciples. “You’ll deny me, you’ll lie about knowing me, you’ll say you have no idea who I am.”

“No,” they said “We wouldn’t do such a thing.” Well, guess what. As respectable, upstanding humans that they were, when those Jews started yelling “CRUCIFY HIM,” they were no where to be found. HUH! Great friends; real solid character, those disciples had. And Jesus associated himself with these guys? YES!

Jesus came back to life, as he told them he would. Who were the first people he set out to find? Those same disciples, that days before wouldn’t even admit to knowing him, let alone spending three years with him, learning from him, growing to love him. What’s that about? Isn’t that a little warped, going straight to the people who betrayed you after you’d been brutally beaten and left for dead? Not out of revenge, but out of love. That’s crazy!

To us yes! To Jesus, to God, no. This wasn’t crazy at all. This was the plan. Why? Because Jesus knew, that even though those young men made mistakes, even though they let their own foolishness at times get in the way of doing what was right, he knew that they were human, faltered, and that though they displayed shortcomings, major shortcomings, he knew they had potential. Potential that every human has, to grow, to grow up, to learn from mistakes and become better the next day, the next week, the next year. If Jesus had abandoned those young men, not acknowledged them, as they had done to him, where would they be now? Would we have any idea who they were? Would we know them as we do know? No, of course not. But we do because Jesus did one important thing. He gave them a chance. He understood their tendencies to screw up but also how easily how those tendencies could be overcome with faith and his power. Without another chance, these men would have been left with little in life.
And here we are, down here on earth, like we really know what’s going on. At the first sign of betrayal, we’re out of there. No need to be in a relationship like that. But the really sad thing is, much of the time, we’re out of there before betrayal is even a possibility. An annoying laugh, a weird quirk, untimely comments, a less than enthusiastic personality, I mean, who knows what. We’re so quick to leave someone behind compared to Jesus’ tolerance for us.

Ok, maybe we’re not supposed to be as patient, as forgiving as Jesus was. But doesn’t he call us to strive to be? Sure, we’re not going to be perfect, and maybe we do risk the chance of being stabbed in the back once in a while or walked all over. That doesn’t mean everybody is going do it to us. Have we thought lately about how many chances we’ve been given? Have we thought about how many more chances we’re going to be given in our lives on this earth? MY GOSH!!! We are so unworthy of any more chances, yet we get them, and we get them. And what happens when we have an opportunity to give someone else another chance? “Nope, not going to happen. Sorry, I don’t need to deal with this.” Well, that’s just great. A lot we’ve learned from our father and his Son, our savior above. It’s a shame he even came at all if that’s the way we’re going to look at life. We really suck sometimes, don’t we?

I’m not saying I’m perfect. I’m not saying I’ve given everyone who I’ve known as many chances as I should have. But I am encouraging us all to stand up a little higher, take heart the work, words and ways of Jesus a little more and put in a little extra effort to “put up” with people on occasion.

If somebody doesn’t reach out to us in some way, does that mean we shouldn’t reach out to them if we have the chance? Even if we’re the ones who do it again and again? Where does the Bible say stop? WE DON’T KNOW what’s going on in others lives. As much as we think we do or might, WE JUST DON’T. We don’t know all their circumstances, their feelings, their history, what goes on in their family, at work, when they’re alone. There’s SO LITTLE we actually know about most people, how can we respond in any way that makes us seem like we do? How can we act in ways that put us in a supreme state of knowledge of that person’s life? People so seldom think of this that there is a lot of misunderstanding in the world.

For every person we could list in our life who we’ve somehow felt slighted by, WE would be on that number of other people’s lists. That’s right; the automatic thought is “no, not me, I can’t think of hardly anyone I’ve slighted.” That’s right, because we seldom know when we have. We don’t even think of things we might have done or said or a way we might have acted to earn a spot on someone else’s list of “people who’ve screwed me.” We don’t even realize it, but it happens. So I’m telling you, realize it.

You know the phrase “I felt burned by this person.” So what? God feels burned by us every day. I don’t even think we should be allowed to say this phrase. Certainly, we invented it, but my goodness how quick we are to say it. I mean, have we even though about what being burned by someone really is? Half the times we feel burned by someone, it doesn’t even matter. Or it won’t matter in a short time. God feeling burned by us matters every single day of everyone’s life, forever.

I’m not saying I don’t think we should never voice our hurts, or tell another brother when he’s wronged us, but let’s not be petty about our definition of being wronged either. Jesus rarely said, “Hey, you’re wrong.” He either questioned someone in a way that made them think, or he led them to another thought or principle that pointed toward God’s love or similar.

Please, let’s all as humans just be careful of the “games” we play in life. I’ll conclude these thoughts with a perfect story from scripture about not giving others the chances that we’ve been given. Go to Matthew 18: 21-35. Don’t just read the first two verses and think you know what its saying. The whole story is the point, so read it all, even if you know it. We all must pay close attention to verse 35. And the next time someone does the slightest of things that you might have a problem with, please, think about what Jesus has done for you.