When I am hurt, often one of the first thoughts that comes to mind is, ‘but that’s not fair, I …’.
We live in a world that is obsessed with “rights”. My rights. The rights of others. What is fair? And this has been the cause of a lot of great good and change in our current world. Yet
Paul in 1 Corinthians 9, causes us to pause, to hesitate.
Paul says, ‘But we did not use this right. On the contrary, we put up with anything rather than hinder the gospel of Christ.’ The question that drives Paul’s actions is not ‘what is fair’, not ‘what is just’, not ‘my rights’. But instead – how can I make much of Christ? How might others see how great and glorious he is? And for Paul, he knows that sometimes that might mean what is right, fair, and just for him will need to be sacrificed.
As such, these are the questions I ponder today:
Where have I sought to be right in the argument, rather than cared for the person?
When have I planted my heels due to hurt, rather than extended costly grace and forgiveness?
Where has my anger, my frustration, my offence been driven by ‘what ought to have happened’ rather than how might I image Jesus in this situation?
And in the midst of this, I am cautious, that my sinful heart is very good at lying/deceiving myself. “Truth is important” – “If I forgive here….and let that go, I’ll just be a doormat that gets walked on” – “I am upset because I hate injustice and what is wrong”. Yes, yes and yes. Yet Paul’s life and ours too is shaped by one who ‘Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant.’
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