The applause of the fickle-minded

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For most of my life, I’ve striven to please people around me, especially those closest to my heart.  Sometimes, even up to now, whenever I make a decision, the reaction of these people matter so much to me, even to the point of driving me to doubt or to fear whenever I expect a negative one.

Yesterday, I read a chapter in the Bible that reminded me how fickle-minded human beings really are– so much so that we need to establish first what we believe in, and consequently, our values and our priorities, so that during those times that we get negativity or even opposition, we stick to what we’ve decided on.

The bible excerpt I’m referring to is Luke 4:14-30.  To summarize the story, Jesus had just come from a powerful time with God in the desert, and his values were tested by Satan.  Because he knew what he believed in, he was able to shoot down every temptation by quoting the word of God.  Now, it was time to start his ministry.  As he finished the introduction to his first “preaching” in his hometown, his neighbors declared their admiration.

Everyone spoke well of him and was amazed by the gracious words that came from his lips. ‘How can this be?’ they asked. ‘Isn’t this Joseph’s son?'” (Luke 4:22)

But in the next breath, as Jesus exposed the truth of what was in their hearts, they were ready to kill him.

“‘But I tell you the truth, no prophet is accepted in his own hometown. Certainly there were many needy widows in Israel in Elijah’s time, when the heavens were closed for three and a half years, and a severe famine devastated the land. Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them. He was sent instead to a foreigner—a widow of Zarephath in the land of Sidon. And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, but the only one healed was Naaman, a Syrian.’  When they heard this, the people in the synagogue were furious. Jumping up, they mobbed him and forced him to the edge of the hill on which the town was built. They intended to push him over the cliff, but he passed right through the crowd and went on his way.” (Luke 4:24 – 30)

I am just amazed at the calmness of Jesus and I chuckle at the frustration his neighbors must have felt when their intention to hurt Jesus did not faze him at all.  Jesus knew Who he aimed to please, and it certainly was not his family, nor his relatives, nor his childhood friends and this gave him a peace beyond understanding.

Likewise, whenever we make unpopular decisions, there is nothing that would give us peace of mind better than knowing that we have the applause of the One whose opinion matters most. 

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