Wednesday, January 3, 2018

The pain of insults

None of us likes to be insulted because insults hurt. In some ways insults are like knives. Some knives are dull and won’t cut much, but others are so sharp that just brushing a finger against the blade will draw blood. Likewise, there are different types of insults, some that don’t bother us, but then there are others that cut deep. So what is it that makes some insults easy to bear and some insults hurt so bad that we carry their scars around our entire lives? I believe the answer to that question centers on one word; love. The degree to which an insult can inflict pain is directly related to the depth of our love. If someone we barely know, or a total stranger, says we are pathetic or worthless, it may hurt, but we might pass it off as a comment from someone that doesn’t really know us. But, if someone we love, whom we have known for a long time, says we are pathetic or worthless it cuts right to our heart and hurts as much as any pain we can experience in life. Insults are a form of rejection. It’s the use of words to inflict pain and injury and if you have ever been insulted by someone you truly love you know they are wounds that are slow to heal and hard to forgive.

Read these words describing the sufferings of Jesus found in Matthew chapter 27:37-44.

Above his head they placed the written charge against him: THIS IS JESUS, THE KING OF THE JEWS. Two robbers were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left. Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, "You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!" 

In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him. "He saved others," they said, "but he can't save himself! He's the King of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, 'I am the Son of God.' "In the same way the robbers who were crucified with him also heaped insults on him. 

When we remember the sufferings of Jesus we often focus on the physical pain of the cross and overlook the pain of Jesus being mocked and insulted. The degree to which an insult can inflict pain is directly related to the depth of love, and the depth of Jesus’ love was being demonstrated by his very presence on the cross. Each insult must have inflicted pain that reached deep into his heart because he was being rejected by his own creation, which he dearly loved. If you have ever been insulted by someone you care about, someone you love, you understand that pain. But maybe that very pain can serve as a reminder to you of how much you are loved, because Jesus willingly bore the pain of being mocked and insulted. And not only was he willing to bear the pain of insult but at the cross he freely forgave.

Reflect on these words from 1 Peter 2:22-24:

"He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth." When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.”