In this day and age it seems that people clamor for their rights. If you listen to the news, it won't be long until you hear about this group or that demanding their rights. Even as a Christian, sometimes I get to thinking abut my own rights, and what I deserve. And the reality is....I deserve nothing.
For the month of March, I am studying Isaiah 53. What a blessing it has been already, and it has only been a few days. As I am reminded again of how much Jesus suffered so that I can have my sins forgiven, I am also reminded of Philippians 2:5-8.
The Lord has convicted my heart concerning offenses and being offended. Offenses will come. People do and say things that hurt my feelings. Recently I was explaining to the Lord how offended I was about a certain circumstance. (Let me just add something here.....Did you ever notice how far you get when you start "explaining" things to the Lord? If you're like me, you don't get very far at all! Not only that, but that "certain circumstance" was something that will have absolutely no value when I stand before the Lord someday!) So....I'm standing there "explaining" to the Lord why I have the right to be offended. The Lord patiently listened to me, but I didn't get my answer until the next morning.....
The next morning I was again reading Isaiah 53, and thinking of Philippians 2:5-8. The answer was so glaringly obvious - it was like running into a brick wall at full speed! It was one of those, "Whoa! I have to stop and take a moment to absorb the gravity of this truth!" moments. Am I the only one who ever has those moments? Something that is so simple - yet so profound - that it is absolutely staggering to the mind and heart! Yep, that's where I was at that moment.
The answer is simple: I have NO RIGHT to be offended. When I got saved, I gave up my rights to my Saviour. I have NO RIGHT to react. Psalm 119:165 tells me that nothing is to offend me!
I am supposed to be like Jesus - that's what it means to be a Christian. That means when offenses come (and they will), I am not supposed to do anything. What's more - I don't have to do anything - Jesus will take care of it, if I'll let Him! The Lord reminded me of Jacob and Laban. How many times did Laban wrong Jacob? Yet, we don't see Jacob doing anything to defend himself or get even with Laban. Then the Lord directed my eyes to Isaiah 53 again. Over and over that chapter explains how much Jesus suffered for us (can we use the word "offended"?) yet He never said a word. He was hurt deeply, yet He forgave much. Never did He tell the Father, "But I...." "But my rights...." "Did you see what they did to me????"
Philippians 2:5 says, "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:" If I want to be like Christ, then I must have the mind of Christ - think like Christ, act like Christ. That means I give up my rights. The verses 6-8speak of being a servant, of not having a reputation for oneself, of being humble. I heard it said once, "Forgiveness is giving up my right to hurt you, even though you have hurt me." That little quote has been such a help to me. It is a blessing and encouragement when I am tempted to be offended or not forgive.
As those truths seeped into my heart and began to take root, I felt such peace. Peace that Jesus does understand me. Peace in knowing that I can be like Christ. Peace in the knowledge that I have no rights and that's okay.