All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on [Jesus] the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. Isaiah 53:6-7
And when he was accused of the chief priests and elders, he answered nothing. Then said Pilate unto him, Hearest thou not how many things they witness against thee? And he answered him to never a word; insomuch that the governor marvelled greatly. Matthew 27:12-14
What Would Jesus Do – WWJD? Everyone wore those bracelets when I was a kid. I read a book with the same title and loved it. When I got older and tried to ask that question in various situations, I usually ended up coming to the conclusion that Jesus probably wouldn’t have been in the situation to begin with.
But sometimes we DO do what Jesus would have done. And we have to keep doing what Jesus would do, even if it hurts.
Recently, I thought I was doing what Jesus would do. I was investing in someone, not judging them, caring for them, encouraging them, calling them higher, counseling them. I was so grateful for the opportunity to help this person, thankful that God had opened this door for me to do something I loved: counsel a young person to overcome challenges and be more like Jesus.
But then it stopped. She didn’t talk to me for weeks, wrote me off, then told me I was wrong, rude, and had judged her. She had other people now who she could trust and who would really help her.
I was so angry and hurt. It was so wrong. All of it. I hadn’t been as angry as I was that night in a long time. I couldn’t stop crying, my heart ached so badly. I wanted to tell her everything I thought of her, everything I had done for her, and all the ways she was wrong. I felt like she had betrayed me, stabbed me in the back, spit in my face–
But in the midst of tears and the jarring pain in my chest, I remembered Jesus. More accurately, I remembered what I did to Him. It was me who betrayed Him, placed the cross on His back, spit in His face. He had done nothing to make me treat Him like that. In fact, He had done the opposite. He had invested in me. He created me. He didn’t judge* me. He cared for me, encouraged me, called me to Himself, gave the truth and counsel of His Word. And yet I turned against Him, berated Him, essentially told Him, “You don’t know what You’re talking about. I’m right. I’m always right. I know best.” I was there among the crowd when they crucified Him.
And yet He never said a word.
He was questioned, He was mocked, He was lied against.
But He was silent.
Of course realizing all this made me weep even more. But they were tears of gratitude. I still didn’t know how to handle the situation, but I could no longer cry out, “Lord, why? How could you let her hurt me like this?” No, I couldn’t, because I had done the same and worse to Him. And He loved me just the same. He didn’t list the ways I was wrong or tell me I was a failure. He took the beating, the betrayal, and railings, and didn’t defend Himself at all. He loved me in spite of my utter contempt for anything godly, and His love drew me to Him. I want to be like that, drawing people back to Jesus.
I called my mom (of course) after all this happened. While she had an abundance of good advice, probably the best was this: “Remember: God is your defense. You don’t have to defend yourself. If you know you did nothing wrong, you don’t have to say anything.” I had asked her what I should say, if I say anything at all. And that was her response. “God is your defense.”
I still don’t know what I’ll say, or if I’ll say anything at all. All I know is that I don’t have to argue, put up a fight, stand my ground, and defend myself. There are times when we should take a stand and not back down; but I don’t know if this is one of those times. It definitely wasn’t one of those times minutes after I received the text message that broke my heart. But I believe that’s why the Holy Spirit gently brought our sweet Savior, our precious Lamb, our ultimate Sacrifice to mind. Whatever happens, God is my defense. He protects me and He upholds me.
For the LORD is our defence; and the Holy One of Israel is our king. Psalm 89:18
But the LORD is my defence; and my God is the rock of my refuge. Psalm 94:22
My defence is of God, which saveth the upright in heart. Psalm 7:10
But I will sing of thy power; yea, I will sing aloud of thy mercy in the morning: for thou hast been my defence and refuge in the day of my trouble. Unto thee, O my strength, will I sing: for God is my defence, and the God of my mercy. Psalm 59:16-17
He only is my rock and my salvation; he is my defence; I shall not be greatly moved. He only is my rock and my salvation; he is my defence; I shall not be moved. Psalm 62:2, 6
Side note: Reading through the Pentateuch recently has helped to keep the sacrifice of Jesus Christ front of mind for me. But so have some incredible spiritual songs by the gifted Andrew Peterson. If you want to be taken back to what happened directly before, during, and after the resurrection, you have to listen to his albums Resurrection Letters: Prologue and Resurrection Letters, Vol. 1. Vol. 2 is excellent as well, but the previously mentioned albums are nearly all I’ve been listening to for the past month. I can’t say enough about how these albums have made the death and resurrection of Jesus even more real to me.
*God is the Righteous Judge, and if we refuse to turn from our sin to Him we will face the consequences: eternal separation from almighty God. While we can come to Jesus as we are, Him meeting us with open arms, He loves us too much to let us stay in our sinfulness. And likewise we should love Him too much to continually make selfish, sinful decisions.