Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Behaviour Modification Efforts?

"...because they were saying, "He has an unclean spirit." Then His mother and His brothers *arrived, and standing outside they sent word to Him and called Him. A crowd was sitting around Him, and they *said to Him, "Behold, Your mother and Your brothers are outside looking for You." Answering them, He *said, "Who are My mother and My brothers?" Looking about at those who were sitting around Him, He *said, "Behold My mother and My brothers! "For whoever does the will of God, he is My brother and sister and mother."  (Mark 3:30-35 NASB)
Have you ever had someone say something - only to you - that was meant to discourage you from acting a certain way?  Even Jesus recognized it could happen.  In the above passage, He was speaking words that were controversial, might have been a sore spot, might have made people look at things they didn't want to look at, but were absolutely necessary truth for the moment - and His family didn't like it one bit.  He was creating problems for them!

I had such an experience over the last few days.  Before I begin, let me say that I have never tried to deliberately make anyone uncomfortable with what I say or do.  If I have done so to you, then I sincerely apologize.  However, what I have shared I have done from a deep conviction of heart that what I have shared needed to be shared.  It started when I shared a picture meant to convey the extent of the Love of God on Facebook.  I didn't make the picture.  It was a picture of a man's hand with a nail through the wrist, and the caption on the picture was something like "Behold the Love of God."  That makes most Christians think about the lengths to which God went to pay the wages that our wrongdoing had earned us.

I will pause at this point to explain something about how Facebook works for me.  When I share something, and someone comments on it, I get an email from Facebook containing that comment.  You are also allowed to delete comments you make on something that someone else posts.  Doing that removes the comment from public visibility, but the author or the post still gets an email.  I got one such email from a gentleman that disagreed with what I posted, who deleted the comment from public view.  This comment told me that sharing an image of a man's hand with a nail through the wrist was "absolutely sick."

Interestingly, I happen to agree that the imagery is sick.  It was sick to put a nail through someone's wrist.  And that is the length to which God was prepared to go to pay the wages that our wrongdoings have earned us - to become a man Himself and then die in this sick and twisted way to pay that price because we could not pay it.  Such news NEEDS to be shared, if you are me or share the very deep conviction I have about what that means to humankind.  It is actually great news, that God Himself died for my wrongdoings so that I would not have to pay that price - as if I could anyway.

You can debate this all you like, but history backs me up that a man named Jesus was crucified approximately 2000 years ago, and history further defends that He ROSE from the dead and walked around, and was seen by a bunch of people!  It is not my point to debate this here (you will note the comments are closed for that reason).

Yesterday (March 12, 2013), I shared another image that must have been the straw that broke the camel's back.  It was a screen capture of the beaten and bloody Jesus hanging on the cross, complete with crown of thorns, from the Mel Gibson movie, The Passion of the Christ.  The caption read, "There's only ONE hero."  I'll take responsibility to adding the caption to the photo.  I was "unfriended" on Facebook by the individual that sent the original email.  I understand this, the gentleman exercised his freedom to choose, and I am fine with that.  I certainly still respect his opinion and freedom of choice.  However, this got me thinking about what happened.

Whether anyone wants to admit this or not, this is a written/verbal attempt to modify my behaviour.  We have all done this at various times.  Jesus experienced it firsthand at the hands of his mother and half-brothers.  His response is what I find truly fascinating.  He did not let it affect Him or His actions at all.  He continued speaking the truth because people needed to hear it.  They had to kill Him to shut Him up, in fact. I realize that is pretty drastic, but as a Christian, I am called to follow His example.

Now, what has this really cost me?  It cost me a Facebook friend, but I know the gentleman outside of Facebook through a common activity, so I doubt it cost me his actual friendship.  We have stated in the past that we will simply agree to disagree on things.  It did NOT cost me any sleep, as things like this have done from my past, and I find that worthy of remark.  It also is a bit of a gain for me - it made me think about this, and how my Lord would respond to this.  I'm sure He loved His family, just as I love my friend.  However, He wasn't taking the attempt to modify (really curb) His behaviour.  He just kept right on doing what He had to do, and I will be doing the same.

May the Lord bless you all!

"You will know the truth, and the truth will make you free."
-John 8:32 (NASB)