Happy in Jesus

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Love is not irritable or resentful (vs. 5).

We live in a society where people are easily offended. Don’t believe me? Americans today have been offended by things like NFL team names, “bless you,” and green/red Christmas lights. In fact, some girl posted a picture of her boyfriend asking her out by giving her a pizza with a message on the box: “Will you be my girlfriend or is this too cheesy?” One person responded with utter outrage, insinuating that this was a sign of male chauvinism. Additionally, the pizza toppings were made with the carcasses of dead pigs! How dare he start a romance on the bloody backs of farm animals!

It’s gotten really bad. One woman, while about to embark on an international flight, tweeted a status that mocked false racist misconceptions. Apparently, those 140 characters were not enough for her to express her mocking tone. She got on the flight as an “average Joe”—er, “average Jane” (sorry if I offended you). When she landed many hours later, she turned back on her phone to see that she had been fired. Apparently, her tweet had gone viral with people lambasting her apparent “racism” from all over the world. She was trending—and not for a good reason. The sudden shock was so intense that she had to be treated for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

The world we live in is easily irritated and definitely resentful. And I have to admit—I am too. I’m quick to accuse others and excuse myself. If someone says something I deem hurtful, even if it’s just a passing comment, I get upset—perhaps only inwardly, but I’ll harbor it for days. I’m what 1 Corinthians calls “irritable”—the very thing that Mr. Agape is not. Literally, love isn’t “easily provoked.” It also “does not keep an account of wrongs”—in other words, it isn’t resentful. Love doesn’t get easily insulted and doesn’t hold a grudge against real insults. It lives an easy-going, unperturbed life. Its happiness is not affected by what others say or do to him—Mr. Agape is just happy in Jesus!

Indeed, for it was Jesus Himself Who said, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” When did He say this? When He was miffed by his townsfolk in Galilee? When He was insulted by the religious leaders who said He was in league with the devil? When His mom and brothers thought He was crazy? I would’ve been so insulted by those comments. I would’ve held a grudge. But Christ didn’t make His grand statement of forgiveness in response to these little things—but in response to the greatest insult—the greatest resentment ever shown on earth. When all mankind united for one purpose: to kill the God Who made them. To hang Him on a knotted tree and smash his battered flesh against the splinters and drive long iron nails through his flesh like he was just a slab of meat being skewered. It was in that moment—to those murderers—that He cried,

“Father, forgive them—they do not know what they do!”

Well, that makes that grudge you’re holding against your wife for not thanking you for the card seem a little…unimportant, doesn’t it? It makes that anger against Mrs. So-in-So for not putting you on the special music schedule seem a little awkward. It makes the way you got offended at the fact that you weren’t asked to teach Sunday School seem…uneventful. Or rather, sinful. Christ does not hold a grudge against us—the sinful beasts who killed Him. He was not easily offended by our callous words. Every time we reject Him for the world’s lusts, fashions, and popularity, He does not get all up-in-arms. Instead, He gently asks us to come back—and He opens up His arms to receive us with the world’s warmest hug.

So instead of spending your days looking for offensive comments, instead of getting upset about not being chosen or for those hurtful words said behind your back, instead of spending your time planning your revenge, spend it in the arms of the Forgiver. Thankful for His sacrifice. Thankful that He paid for your offensive sin.

Happy in Jesus…when you can’t be happy in anyone else.

-M@

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