“Does it really even pay to be nice?”
This is how the conversation started with a fellow, empathetic friend of mine. Going over the many times we have felt like doormats in the last few months. You know what doormats are, right? They get stepped on. That’s what we had felt like. We had given and given and given. Opened our hearts and like a doormat felt walked on, stepped on, and worn out.
“I mean, this being like Jesus stuff is hard. I just don’t deserve to be constantly treated like dirt.”
However, I am pretty sure Jesus didn’t either.
I don’t claim to be Jesus. But, I am called to be like him.
I can’t feed 5,000 with two fish and five loaves, but I have fed the hungry…and received nothing more than a grunt in return.
I haven’t raised a man from the dead, but I have tried my hardest to bring dry bones back to life…and been spat on.
I have tried to teach others that true love offers forgiveness and grace. Looks at people as more than their imperfections, mistakes, and flaws…and been ridiculed for being too “soft.” Not “hard” enough on them.
I may not be the man who walked on water. But, I have jumped in some earthly fires hoping to save some lost sheep. Felt like I have only been burned, and wondered why I was the one forsaken.
This being like Jesus stuff is hard.
He was despised and rejected-a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way. He was despised and we did not care. Isaiah 53:3
My methods, teachings, and practices may be questioned by the authorities just as the Pharisees questioned the teachings of Jesus.
I may wander the wilderness or the desert, and be tempted to give up on God by the cunning schemes of the devil.
I may have people abandon me in my time of despair, or sell me out for their personal glory.
I may be scoffed at. Mocked. My outstretched hands reached out in love may be rejected each and every time. I may suffer in His name. Just so others can see His light.
And, I may not deserve it. I may deserve better.
But, I didn’t shed blood for a sinner like me. I scoffed at the one who did. Mocked him. Turned from him. Sinned against the one who gave His Son for me. I didn’t deserve His love.
Yet Jesus gave it all.
He suffered again and again. Knowing it may never be given in return.
Yes, this being like Jesus stuff is hard. But, if he could bleed and die so I can know what perfect love feels like, then I can take a couple grunts. Some criticism. Some abandonment. Some rejection. Some tears. Some suffering.
He felt it all. He gave it all. He deserves it all in return.