I heard an excellent message from a pastor recently about not defending ourselves when we are betrayed or attacked. His point was that no matter what we say in defense we cannot undo the damage and we may actually make things worse. If we have done what is right and are slandered, lied about, or smeared unfairly, the best course of action is to continue to live our lives righteously and trust God for the results. If close friends ask what is happening, we may share with them . . . The point is: don’t retaliate, defend, or excuse ourselves.
This is not easy. To hold our peace when warred against is like watching mosquitoes take blood and not swatting them. Why would we do that?
Silence is golden. It is a paradoxical potion to a stressed spirit. I say paradoxical because often in our busyness we cry out for God and we cannot hear Him. He may seem absent from the roar of everyday life. Indeed, I wonder if we crowd Him out by out incessant action. No wonder He impressed upon the sons of Korah “He says, 'Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth'” (Psalm 46:10--NIV).
I’ve read the passage in Mark countless times and I have to admit, I’ve always glossed over his action as both understandable and “no big deal.” In truth, I’m like him—I can think of times when God has brought His word to mind and I liked my idea better. I’m reminded again of how important obedience is. What God says I need to do. “Then a man with a serious skin disease came to Him and, on his knees, begged Him: ‘If You are willing, You can make me clean’” (Mark 1:40). Jesus was filled with compassion and touched the leper—healing him. Then He did a curious thing. He strongly warned the man not to tell anyone but to go and show himself to a priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded regarding cleansing. Jesus told him this would be a testimony to them (the priests and fellow Jews).
The art of discerning is comprised of two parts—keen insight combined with good judgment. Many believe that discernment is a gift and that certain people are more adept at discerning than others. However, discernment is much more than a gift it is an ability linked closely to wisdom. Therefore, as a person grows wiser spiritually, the ability to discern should also blossom.
Luke 23:44-46--It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three, because the sun’s light failed. The curtain of the sanctuary was split down the middle. And Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into Your hands I entrust My spirit.” Saying this, He breathed His last.