It Is Hard To Stay Mad At Beautiful People!

Posted on April 5, 2011

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This has been on my heart for the last couple of weeks, and I wanted to share just a few thoughts about something we all may have to deal with at some point in our lives.

What am I talking about?

I am talking about being misunderstood, slandered, and even hated by those who claim to be of the household of God. I must admit that I have become sort of an expert on this subject:) Someone once compared me to the weather in Ohio. If you like the weather in Ohio, just wait 5 minutes, and everything will change. My life the last several years has been like that. I always warn people who seem to think very highly of me; if you like me now, just wait 5 minutes, you just may change your tune:)

Early on, I would always be tempted to respond to attacks and criticism by becoming introspective and looking for an area of agreement with the accusation so I could ‘repent’ and embrace some form of ‘humility.’ In my mind, the reason for the attacks on my character were obviously due to areas I needed to improve upon. I also thought that the more like Christ I became, the less that I would be maligned and slandered. So, the conclusion I came to was this; The more that I was disliked and slandered by others, the more unlike Christ I must be.

Then I realized that was the exact opposite of what is true. Here is what Jesus actually said:

You will be hated by all because of My name, but it is the one who has endured to the end who will be saved…It is enough for the disciple that he become like his teacher, and the slave like his master. If they have called the head of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign the members of his household! (Matthew 10:22,25)

This is a shocking verse. One word that sticks out to me is the word “All“. This means that the accusations will come from many different angles. It is one thing to be maligned by the world’s system. That is easier to take, but the other angle of slander and misunderstanding that is much more devastating will come from our own family and friends. Actually, this was the context of Jesus’ statement.

He was not called ‘Beelzebul’ by the ‘worldly’ Romans, He was slandered by the people whom He identified with. It was the people most intent on following what they thought was God’s direction that attacked Him. That is the other part of the ‘All’ that will malign us. It is the subtle and not so subtle questioning of our motives. To me, this always stings more than attacks from people whom we know don’t know any better.

I have come to the conclusion that this kind of suffering is absolutely vital for us. There is sweet fellowship with Christ available to us if we learn how to correctly embrace this kind of rejection. We must resist the temptation of trying to live a life that will be free of accusation and maligning. So, how do we really do that? That’s a great question. There are two principles that I have come to understand that have greatly helped me withstand this kind of accusation, and I would like to share these principles with you. I hope they will be helpful.

Principle #1: Understand that your malignment may be ‘true’ and yet still be false.

Because we are individuals with flesh, none of us are perfect. God knows this, and so does satan. While the Lord may be aware of our flesh, He does not view us through that lens. He sees us through the lens of His Son. Satan, however, is much different. He is incapable of seeing us through the lens of Christ because He has been condemned, and he stands condemned by God (for good reason). As a result, he views us through the lens of condemnation that he himself walks in.

Many times, satan tells half truths. This is what makes his arguments sound so believable. When satan points out our flesh to God, one another, and even ourselves, he can be technically correct. The problem is that satan’s assessment of us is fatally flawed, however. He has a ‘blind spot’. He actively views us as separate from Jesus Christ. He does not view us as part of the very body of Jesus Christ on the earth. In telling us the half truth about our flesh, satan has a goal. The goal is that he would pass that ‘blind spot’ on to us, and to our brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ. His goal is that we would see ourselves and one another as separate from Christ, and not as an extension of Christ Himself!

While we may give a theological head nod to the fact that we are ‘in Christ’, if we focus on the failings of our flesh and we become preoccupied with ‘fixing’ our fleshly behavior, then satan has achieved his goal of causing us to cease ‘abiding in Him’ by distracting us from the rich truth that we are truly ‘in Christ’.

I’m convinced that satan doesn’t care about what we give theological ‘head nods’ to, he is more concerned with what we focus on and live out in reality. If he can convince us to focus on our identity apart from our new nature in Jesus Christ, he accomplishes his goal of turning us into ‘sin managers’, and hard religious workers.

Sin managers are powerless in the kingdom of God and are detrimental to church life. In the same way that sin managers pick apart their own flesh, they will pick apart the flesh of their brothers and sisters in Christ in the name of ‘ speaking the truth’ and ‘correction’. People are pressured to conform to this way of thinking in the name of ‘humility’ and ‘submission’. The result is a multitude of scarred people, and the opposite of what Jesus intended His body to be.

The institutional religious system is a major tool that sows this false and dangerous mindset into people. I am learning that when someone leaves the institutional system to embark on organic church life, there is a lengthy detox process that MUST take place. It is not an overnight process. Just because people leave the ‘system’ does not mean that the ‘system’ has left them. This is a major mindset shift that will not be automatically broken by time, but must be intentionally dealt with.

We must understand something very important. Until that religious mindset is broken in our brothers and sisters and ourselves, they will attack you, and you will attack others. When this happens, you must also understand that it comes from a place of brokenness.

While there may be an element of truth in the attack against you, you must NEVER accept the false premise behind the attack regarding your identity and nature as a member of Christ Himself. Yes, God may use these attacks by others to show you an area of unbroken flesh in your own life. If that is the case, you will know it separate from any sense of condemnation. Do not be distracted, however, and you will be able to withstand the onslaught against you.

2. Understand that you are always able to see clearly and love freely.

One of satan’s goals is not only to cause you to see yourself through the lens of the flesh, but also for you to see your brothers and sisters in the same light as well. This is a form of self defense. This is satan’s attempt to tear down the house that God is building. It doesn’t take long before everyone is attacking everyone. When our flesh is identified, is is easy to identify the flesh of our attackers. I have learned this is not a good idea:) We should lead by example. We are free to see the true identity or another through the lens of Christ no matter how another may be viewing us.

According to scripture, to the pure, everything is pure. When your eyes are opened to the beauty and purity of Jesus Christ, you seem to see Him especially in your brothers and sisters in Christ. Even the very ones that attack you. I have personally found that it is hard to stay mad at beautiful people! A couple of days ago I was gathering with about 30-40 believers for an evening. Many of the people there did not know one another. One of the sisters in the meeting prayed this about others, including myself, whom she did not know:

“Father, I thank you for each brother and sister here tonight. I Love them all, each one of them. I love them because I love you, and I can see you in each one of them.”

I was blown away. I thought, can she really love me if she doesn’t know me? The answer is yes! Why? Because she is in love with Jesus and we are all expressions of His very body! If we can see Christ in our brothers and sisters that we don’t know, how much more can we see Him in our brothers and sisters that we do know?

Do you know what happens when we are head over heels in love with Christ, and then we see Him in and through one another who are members of His very own body? That’s right, it becomes a love fest!

These are just a couple of concepts that have helped me endure accusation and slander, and I hope that it will help you as well. The more we walk by His life, the more attacks will increase, but so will the love.

For the beautiful Bride,

Jamal Jivanjee

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