I know that title might not make much sense to some people but it is something I have had to recognize in my own life recently. How many people no longer attend church because they were hurt in the past by a christian? Have you ever found yourself attending church and because someone has said; or in some cases has not said something to you, and you find that the desire you once had to work with them or to help them succeed begins to be diminished until you reach the point you stop doing everything that causes you to have to work alongside of that person or group. Now I have your attention. The thing that happened could be something as minor as you were not called when someone was in the hospital or as major as the leadership of the church has decided to replace you in an area of ministry that you worked to develop within the church. I canít give you all the reasons why people might develop hurt feelings while serving or attending a church what I can tell you is that when it happens I would guess the devil gives a little chuckle and starts thinking about how best to use it to drive us further from God. Your probably thinking that yes this happens but not to me. I want to share something that might seem a little controversial but after praying about it all week I am convinced that itís true.
In Mark 14:3-9, John 12:1-7, and Matthew 26:6-13 all record an occurrence of a woman coming and anointing the feet of Jesus I want to share it from Mark 14:
3 And while he was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he was reclining at table, a woman came with an alabaster flask of ointment of pure nard, very costly, and she broke the flask and poured it over his head. 4 There were some who said to themselves indignantly, ďWhy was the ointment wasted like that? 5 For this ointment could have been sold for more than three hundred denarii and given to the poor.Ē And they scolded her. 6 But Jesus said, ďLeave her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. 7 For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you want, you can do good for them. But you will not always have me. 8 She has done what she could; she has anointed my body beforehand for burial. 9 And truly, I say to you, wherever the gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her.Ē Mark 14:3-9 (ESV)
All three accounts present some of the same information Jesus is the guest in someoneís home. They are enjoying a meal and the disciples are present. The woman enters and anoints the feet of Jesus. We have all heard a thousand sermons on this part of the passage. There are some questions about who this woman was and in one of the gospelís the list her as Mary; Lazarusí sister and in this recording it is a prostitute. I cannot tell you if these are different occurrences or if they are different versions of the same occurrence what I can tell you is that the same thing happens in each. The disciples become indignant which means they began to complain about what has occurred and what a waste it was. John goes as far as to call the individual by name:
4 But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (he who was about to betray him), said, John 12:4 (ESV)
Than Jesus does something that He has every right to do; He almost seems to scold him for his attitude about what has occurred. As a human being like Judas was I can see why what happens next happens it is the result of hurt feelings. When we assume we understand how things should work and what our role in those things are; when something else happens we can often find ourselves having resentment towards the one who has embarrassed us or overlooked us. When this happens a point of trust has been broken and our desire to see that other person strengthened often becomes the thought of what can I do to hurt this person like they hurt me.
We read on in Mark 14:10-11 and that is exactly what happened.
10 Then Judas Iscariot, who was one of the twelve, went to the chief priests in order to betray him to them. 11 And when they heard it, they were glad and promised to give him money. And he sought an opportunity to betray him. Mark 14:10-11 (ESV)
This momentary embarrassment that Judas suffered was the straw that broke the camelís back; we donít read much else about Judas in scripture John describes him as a thief and an embezzler that stole from the ministry. However, he was one called to be a disciple to follow after Christ we are not privy to why he was chosen or if it was all part of Godís original plan. Yet from a point of view as a plain simple person we can all understand why he would betray Jesus in the end. He had been scolded and embarrassed in front of the others; he was made an example of and in that moment the devil got a foothold on his life and used it to bring about the arrest and execution of Jesus on the cross. You may not agree with that or you might even say I am reading too much into it however, we see people every day who when they have been hurt by someone else physically, emotionally or mentally they look for ways to extract some measure of punishment against the one who hurt them. Often in churches the hurt individual withdraws from activities and they find excuses for why they canít help with one thing or another. We have even seen pastors destroyed by lies and accusations from individuals just seeking a little revenge. Sad to say but this happens every day.
My question for you today is does the devil have a foothold on your life? Are you walking around with hurt feelings thinking about what you can do to extract a little revenge upon those who hurt you? If so I want to tell you it will not make you feel any better in the long run. You will look back like Judas and wonder why you did it. Understand this what you think will provide you some sort of peace will only cause you more harm. You will find yourself further down a road you never wanted to go with no way back because of choices you have made and all that will be left is a real time of judgment when you will stand before God and he will ask you to account for what has been done. I challenge you today donít make the same choice as Judas and millions of others have donít allow the hurt feelings you have control the choices you make give them to God and he will make all things right in His time. I pray you have a blessed day as you walk in the light of Godís Word.