"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God --- even as I try to please everybody in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved. Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ."
~ I Corinthians 10: 31-33; 11: 1
About this time in the life of Christ, I begin to see the pressure build all around him. These must have been sleepless nights. Knowing the will of God, while understanding the unwillingness of others. Let's face it, there are twelve other people that are feeling the pressure as well. There are all kinds of stories being shared. Some are true and some, well let's just say, were not.
Let's face it, there wasn't just the promise of the Messiah circulating. This would also mean a new King in the eyes of the Jews, and the lifestyle of religious leaders and rulers would be called into question. Something would have to be done, and if just one or two of those who followed Christ would turn on him, or be convinced by some other means, then the Messiah, or the idea of the Messiah, might be changed.
The efforts by those who wish to do harm, rather than good, are having their effects. There are hurt feelings among those who are following him. Judas, for one, has already spoken out against Mary washing the feet of Christ with expensive oils. He declares before everyone that they should have sold these oils so that they could give the money to the poor.
Jesus reminds that the poor will be with them always, but that Jesus would not. There is silence.
For any of us, silence can also be a sign of being hurt. These relationships are being challenged in ways that pulls the men apart, and in the next few days, these relationships will be tested over and over again.
So what happens when you find that you can't find the strength to rise above feelings such as being hurt, depressed, or simply just not able to move beyond a particular issue in your life?
I believe that I'm asking a question that all of us may have experienced. The spiritual life in Christ can and does possess times that can and are challenging.
At this point in the life of Christ, the need to go off an be alone must have been overwhelming. Not every conversation, or moment, is recorded. If Christ were both human and Divine, the reality is that Jesus surely must have known these moments as well.
Any of us are capable of causing others to stumble when we are not honest with our feelings. We almost create a false ceiling. In order for us to be a true witness to our relationship with Christ, then we must be willing to show our complete self. A testimony to what God can and will do in our life must have moments that possess not only the mountain top moments, but also when we experience valleys that not only contain darkness, but feelings that we often don't talk about.
It really is a disservice to others if we don't talk about both good times and bad. When we experience the lows, we must acknowledge them in a way that we can have others reach out, but also so others can see how those times were encountered and processed.
The defeating moments are when others don't allow for us to go through the moments. It's one thing to not want the person to struggle, but sometimes it's worse not walking through those valleys with.
It's not only denying the opportunity for God's true blessings, but also a much more meaningful relationship with those that struggle, when the situation has changed, and all emerge together on the other side.
While life may have challenges, remain in God's grip!
G. Todd Williams (c) 2017
Dear Lord, through all the times of our lives, may Your overwhelming presence bring a sense of belonging and need to be present for one another. Amen.
Rev. G. Todd Williams lives in the Houston metro area and is a Hospice Chaplain and ordained Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) pastor.