Today I need to go visit a church, but I'm sort of nervous. There is a person associated with this congregation who has said some hateful and dishonest things about me.
The Lord graciously showed me this morning how Jesus dealt with dishonest people. Following Jesus's example, I must do the following:
- I must be loving. This is how Jesus responded to the rich young ruler, who may have been a ruler of a synagogue or member of the Sanhedrin. This man falsely claimed to have kept all the commandments. Despite his bogus claim, Jesus looked on him with love (Mark 10:20-21).
- I will try to find some agreement. This is how Jesus dealt with two of His disciples who thought they could keep up with Jesus. He knew the sons of Zebedee could never endure the cross, but they would be martyred. James would be beheaded and John would be exiled to the Island of Patmos. Following our Lord's example I will seek agreement not argument (Mark 10:38-40).
- I have to guard my integrity. When the chief priests, scribes, and elders claimed ignorance about John's baptism, Jesus did not respond in kind. It would have been easy for Jesus to say, "Well I don't either." We must not stoop to their level. In spite of how others act, I want to do my best to behave with character and honor (Mark 11:33).
- I will never speak of their false accusations. This is what Jesus did when false witnesses accused Him before the high priest and the Sanhedrin. Mark 14:61 says, "[Jesus] kept silent and said nothing."
We are not surprised to see falsehoods in business or politics, but it is sad to see it in the church. Jesus dealt with dishonest religious people, we will too. But by God's grace, let us respond with love, harmony, and integrity.