Tag Archives: abuse

Ignored, Denied, Insulted

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I love the story in Matthew 15:21-28, of the interaction of Jesus and a Canaanite woman. It is not your normal “Jesus does a miracle” story. Do not get me wrong, all of the miracles of Jesus were great, but this is unusual (if there is a “usual” for Jesus). We normally think of Jesus as kind and compassionate, and eager to minister to the hurting. This story does not work that way.

The woman calls to Jesus to deliver her daughter suffering from demon possession. Jesus’ first response is to ignore her; v.23 “Jesus did not answer a word”. Ever feel that your requests are just plain ignored? Well, here is an example of it happening! She called enough times to aggravate the disciples. They said, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.” Next, Jesus declares, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.” He told her that He would not grant her request because she was not part of the covenant with Israel. So, first Jesus ignored her, then he told her no. Lastly He insulted her. “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.” Jesus was the bread and she was the dog. Not the “usual” Jesus.

As unusual as the story is so far, the next part is the amazing part. The woman agrees with Jesus that she is a dog that willingly eats the crumbs that fall from the master’s table! The psychologists would have told her to not lose her self-respect. But Jesus said she had “great faith” (v. 28). I can only imagine her thinking might be. Maybe she realized her daughter’s problem was one of millions in the world, and the world was a small part of the universe, and the universe is small to God. Therefore, a single crumb falling from God’s table would be large in the universe, gigantic compared to the world, overwhelmingly massive to her. Isaiah says that God measures the islands of the earth as if they were “fine dust” (Isaiah 40:15). Crumbs were more than what she needed. She just needed her daughter delivered.

Most of us quit praying when we feel like we have been ignored. We definitely would quit praying if Jesus told us no. Would anyone keep praying for something if were ignored, told no, and insulted on top of that? I think not. But Jesus said this woman had “great faith”. Her petition was granted. Her daughter was healed.

I want to have “great faith”.

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Growing In Difficulties

Nobody should stay in abusive situations. We should not allow ourselves to be subjected to abuse.

Interestingly enough, we should not allow ourselves to go to the opposite extreme either.

Coming out of abuse can fling us into a place that we make absolutely sure that we do not get ourselves back into difficult circumstances again. It is VERY easy to reject all circumstances that take on the flavor or smell of abuse. The end result is that we reject some things that are in our lives that are for our good. Difficult people and difficult circumstances help us grow. How do we get in balance? By allowing those borderline cases into our lives!

We have to remember that every difficulty is not from the devil. Some of our frustrations are God’s polishing agent in our lives. Those irritants are there for us to learn to run back to our loving Father to get more help!

A good example is the temptation of Jesus in Matthew 4:2-3. Jesus, part of the creation trinity, came in body form, and had fasted 40 days. The devil tempted him to make stones into bread. Why shouldn’t He make stones into bread? He could; He changed water into wine. He deserved it; He had gone without food for 40 days. (Think about this, as God, Jesus had probably never felt those kinds of pains before!) But Jesus did not turn the stones into bread, not because it would have been wrong, but because there was greater good in going without! Is it possible that God called irritating or uncomfortable circumstances in our lives because there is greater good to come of it?

How do we know if we are to welcome or reject circumstances that irritate us?

Philippians 2:5-8 says, “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”

Jesus HUMBLED himself and became obedient (this in itself is amazing). This is the “attitude” (v.5) that we should have in our lives. Whether my circumstances are fabulous or frustrating we should have the attitude that we know that, “All things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28.

Philippians 2:9-11 continues, “For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (NASB)

Jesus went the lowest place, and therefore was exalted above all. When we are humble, God will use even the worst of circumstances in our lives to shine His Glory through.

Be at peace.

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