This has been a week full of challenges, to say the least. I now realize just how miserable being in ministry can be if you are not really called to it. I say this as one who is finding out that what my wife's grandfather told me at my ordination service is so true, 'If you can do anything else, son, you had better go and do it. You had better make sure that this is what God has called you to do.' In response I must say that this is exactly what I was born to do.
This life that God has called not only me to but many others, is a tough road. However, we must remember that our Lord and Savior suffered much more than we could ever imagine. In the moments that I was experiencing criticism and condemnation, the only thing that I could think of is 'Scott, these people need the grace and mercy that Jesus has granted you.' Six months ago, I believe that I would have responded in a much different way. I would have been enraged that someone would speak to me in this manner and would have the gumption to cast stones at me, a righteous man. I would have returned evil for evil, stone for stone.
It is amazing how God works in the heart of His children. I mean, I was hurt and offended, but this time it was not for myself, but for the gospel. When it was all said and done, I walked away thinking to myself, how could people miss all that Scriptures say about self-control and loving kindness? How could people be so blind to the gospel's message? How could they mock at the death of Christ in such a way that it doesn't even faze them?
I now understand what Jesus must have felt when interacting with the Pharisees. I never would have imagined that people in the church could be so cruel and so condemning. However, as I read through the gospels, those are the people that Jesus faced everyday and who ultimately killed Him.
In all of this, I am humbled. I am broken. I am more sure now than ever, that God is sovereign and working out His plan in my life. I must remain faithful to my call, to my Father, and to my church. I must be steadfast and self-controlled, while responding with loving kindness, mercy and grace, and continue to preach Christ and Him crucified, even if it cost me my life. Isn't that what Jesus did? Isn't that what all the apostles did? Why should I be any different?