Humility in the Face of Adversity

Dear Friends:

Have you ever considered which insult or unkind word spoken to you (or about you behind your back) that is most injurious and hurtful? It’s not the attack that’s totally untrue or outrageous, but rather the remark that is nearly true. We don’t get upset by the gossip that is obvious slander or an outrageous lie—we might even laugh at how ludicrous it is. When silly things are said about us that are so ridiculously fabricated the best thing to do is ignore it, smile, and go about your life. But if you protest, defend yourself, get angry, and seek retribution others being to wonder as to why you’re so upset… “methinks he protests too much…”

Jesus never got angry about the outlandishly evil things said about Him, but when the Holy Spirit was slandered He offered the strongest warnings recorded in the gospels.

When people say unkind (and perhaps untrue) things of me, I must stop and ponder if my pride has been injured (which suggests that things might be close to true), whether God has permitted the insult for a reason, or if I need to totally ignore the remark and go about my life. The discernment and mark of maturity is knowing when to be “pricked in the heart” and when to avoid being the jerk.

It’s been said that the greatest lie is the one that is nearly true, and I must be wary of unkind words to bring out of me an ungodly response. If the insult is true I must learn to say: Speak Lord Jesus!

One would think that the closer we come to Christ the less the insults on our character and motives would become, but I am convinced that the more one tries to emulate Jesus the more you are scrutinized, analyzed and critiqued—fairly or unfairly. It’s far safer and easier to choose to lead a mediocre Christian life than to be a true disciple of Christ! It’s the disciples that seem to rattle others more than the nominal believer.

I am not saying all of this to suggest that I am a “saint” or the 13th apostle or an advanced disciple that is under constant assault from the enemy—but an HONOR to be able make such a boast! But I do know that the more I try to listen to Him and align my life in following Him, the more I am attacked and opposed. I suppose that’s is safer to stay away from the front lines in a battle! But may God encourage us and equip us to sustain the injuries that are consistent with being identified with Jesus Christ.

Dean Barley

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