One of the experts in the law answered him, “Teacher, when you say these things, you insult us also.” Luke 11:45
Sometimes I’ve overheard God’s voice of correction spoken to another person or group and, rather than taking it as a voice of concern for the welfare of all who are listening, I often do one of two things: If the recipient is someone I think is wrong, I’m ready to amplify the criticism. If I identify with the recipient of God’s correction, I absorb the remedial words as a personal insult and am ready to defend myself like a trial lawyer.
I think I understand the reaction of these experts in the law. When I’ve unintentionally missed God’s purpose, I’ve usually spent a lot of thought, personal passion, and time pursuing and justifying my misdirection. So, being told Jesus finds my attitudes or actions distressing to him, feels like an insult.
So what would be a mature response to God’s legitimate confrontation and correction? I’m reminded of King David’s reaction to a story the prophet Nathan told when he confronted David about his adulterous affair with Bathsheba and subsequent murder of her husband Uriah. Read the story in 2 Samuel 12:1-23.
You will notice David initially raged against the villain in the seemingly fictitious story and Nathan then exclaimed, “You are that man!” Verse 13 records this reply: Then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.”
Even though David had sinned against Bathsheba and her husband, he recognized his primary misdirection was against his Lord. If he was to have any peace, he had to settle things with God first. Even though David fully repented, there were serious, long-lasting consequences to his depravity.
When I have chosen errant paths that I found enjoyable, it’s been humbling to acknowledge my ungodly actions and turn to Jesus for forgiveness. Although I might face unpleasant consequences, letting God renew my heart and rearrange my circumstances brings peace and healing.
Has Jesus been bugging you about taking a fork in the road you now know is displeasing to him? Go to him directly…he’s waiting to restore you to himself.
By Kathleen Petersen