Welcome to This Passing Day. I’m Mark Brunner. My friend, may I ask you a question today? When you do things wrong and open yourself up to criticism, even perhaps a rebuke, how do you react? Do you scurry for the safety of self-denigration, or, even worse, look for blame elsewhere? Do you lose our luster when things go bad?
My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day.
When I worked as a young editor at a publishing company decades ago I had the experience of working with an older gentleman, Charlie, now long since gone to be with the Lord, who had one of the most amazing personalities I’ve ever known. He was kind, a very gentle spirit. He was also quite clumsy at times. I remember a Christmas party one year and all of the employees had gathered in the cafeteria around a bowl of punch to celebrate. Charlie was there as well standing next to the punch, glass in hand, chatting with coworkers when someone asked him if he would pour a cup of punch for her. Always quick to accommodate, Charlie smiled and agreed to do the favor. He did, unfortunately, turn a bit too quickly and his elbow knocked the bowl over and there was Christmas punch everywhere. If that had been me I would have muttered something and quickly excused myself for being such a clod. Charlie simply smiled, apologized for his clumsiness and proceeded to clean up the mess. Amazingly, his smile never left his lips.
When we do things wrong and open ourselves up to criticism, even perhaps a rebuke, how do we react? Do we scurry for the safety of self-denigration, or, even worse, look for blame elsewhere? Do we lose our luster when things go bad?
Here’s a story. The story is told of a judge who had been frequently ridiculed by a conceited lawyer. This went on for years until one of the judge’s friends asked why he didn't rebuke his assailant. Pausing for a moment, the judge replied, “In our town lives a widow who has a dog. Normally he is a good hound not given to much bother about anything. However, whenever the moon shines brightly, and especially when it is full, it goes outside and barks all night at that poor old moon and there simply is no stopping him.” Having said that, the magistrate shifted the conversation to another subject. After a few minutes, however, finally someone asked him, “But Judge, what about the dog and the moon, I don’t see the point to your story at all?” “Oh,” replied the judge rather matter of factly, “the moon went on shining despite the old dog–that's all.” (Source Unknown.)
Jesus instructed his disciples to “. . . not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also” (Matthew 5:39). This axiom from his Sermon on the Mount doesn’t simply apply to matters of physical abuse. Rather, Jesus meant this as an overarching application when it comes to dealing with whatever afflicts us in this life, be that physical, verbal or, as in the case of my friend Charlie, self-inflicted. It’s about how we deal with situations when they unexpectedly go wrong. These times, Jesus was teaching, are times when we can reflect his love or reflect something falling far short of that. When things seems to have turned against us we have choices: we can keep on shining and be the enduring, kind and gentle spirit that a child of Christ ought to be, or continually seek after the justice of our own defense. You can keep on shining brightly, or simply turn out the light. You choose?
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We pray. Thank you Lord for showing us how to love not only others, but ourselves when things go wrong in this life. Father, it’s hard not to think about ourselves when we’ve been slighted; especially when we’re embarrassed and others are watching us. Help us Father to always remember that we are images of our Savior Jesus Christ and how we react to wrongs reflects directly on how Jesus taught us to live–quietly and in peace. In Jesus name we pray. Amen!
Therefore my friend, Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry for itself; each day has enough trouble of its own. This Passing Day. (Matt 6:34)
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