Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Outlandish (05/19/11)
TITLE: Hold Your Peace
By Hiram Claudio
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We go through our day and, if we’re honest, most of it is one long stream of responses. Someone cuts us off on the highway and … we react. Someone holds the door open for us and … we react. It’s pretty understandable, and quite natural, that since we live in a world with people, that much of our existence involves responding to and interacting with them.
Yet, from the time we’re very small, we’re taught that a higher ideal is to not simply react in all situations. We’re told that when someone teases you, to just walk away. We’re also instructed to not return those insults. These responses seem uncommon but they represent a higher way of looking at interaction than simply basing in on ‘cause and effect.’
In the normal everyday of life, this doesn’t seem too hard. It almost seems manageable. But when the interaction involves a deep wound or hurt, it can feel like the higher ideal is asking too much. When the hurt impacts a basic part of our being, it can seem almost unhealthy to not respond or react in kind. Now I’m not looking at how we express this hurt. Expression is a healthy thing and when we’re hurt, we need to find a safe place to face the pain we feel.
But the focus here is on the outward reaction to those hurts. This is not about how we feel but what we do with how we feel. In these situations, it can be life altering, and downright devastating, to simply “react” to the pain we’re feeling. It’s in these times I’m reminded of a phrase I heard often as a child … “hold your peace.”
It was basically the way for the adults in my life to tell me to stay calm and even tempered. But the phrase, when looked at more closely, really presents a key for navigating those times of pain and deep struggle. In those seasons, of all the turmoil that can be present, our greatest life asset is our peace. And with that, we need to hold it and cling to it dearly. But how? How can one do that?
A particular scene from the Bible has always amazed me. Most of the scenes from the time known as ‘passion week’ are filled with such rich life lessons. But one scene really pauses me. It’s the scene of Jesus after He is nailed to the cross. He had just been beaten severely. A crown of thrones is impaled into his skull. He was made to carry a heavy cross a great distance. And then had nails driven into His hands and feet.
And there He hangs. Is He left alone with His pain? No! While hanging there He is taunted by the guards and the crowd. The insults and comments would be painful enough but add to them all He had gone through already and … it seems beyond cruel. And yet … He says nothing to them. He doesn’t react. We hear no responses like “don’t make me come down there” or “you just wait a few days and you’ll see.” Nothing.
The Master of the universe, the Prince of peace … holds His peace. He holds it dear and close. I picture as the crowd becomes louder, that He held His peace tighter. What an awesome contrast in the face of the ‘cause and effect’ culture we live in today. I’m sure people would’ve counseled Him to go ahead and scream or yell or even curse. Let it out.
But our Lord did something so uncommon, so incredible and outlandish. In the midst of unimaginable pain … He held His peace. Again, I’m not criticizing the healthy and needful thing for us to find safe places where we can express and deal with the pain we all face in life. But when it comes to acting out or on that pain, we would do well to follow Christ in holding our peace … which starts in those times with holding close the source of all peace – the Prince of peace Himself.
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