Strength or Weakness

November 16, 2012 § Leave a comment

Sometimes we mistake strength for weakness. Take an apology, for example. There’s something about saying “I’m sorry” that disarms and drains the room of anxiety. Unfortunately, we often resist offering an apology for some wrong thing we said or did because we fear it’s a sign of weakness. Pride compels us to keep our guard up and hold onto our knuckle-headedness.

On the contrary, taking the difficult first step to apologize is gutsy, bold and risky. It takes strength and humility, where humility is actually a good thing. It takes wisdom, foresight, big-picture thinking, and a commitment to stand up and fight for peace. Damage can be repaired and relationships can be restored through an apology, but it’s not easy. The hard thing is doing it.

I thought of this recently when I read about Christ’s crucifixion.

“Those who passed by hurled insults at Him, shaking their heads and saying, “You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save Yourself! Come down from the cross, if You are the Son of God!” In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked Him. “He saved others,” they said, “but He can’t save Himself! He’s the king of Israel! Let Him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in Him. He trusts in God. Let God rescue Him now if He wants Him, for He said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” (Matthew 27:39-43)

As I said, sometimes strength can be mistaken for weakness, and power mistaken for powerlessness. If Jesus were any more human, it would have been tempting to show His power and come down off the cross. That would have been easy for God. The harder thing was to endure the cross for us. The Jews even had the passive Lamb portrayal of the Messiah from Isaiah available to them, yet they still assumed this Man was just a weak failure. And think about the end result of doing the harder thing, the stronger and powerful thing that Jesus did in His sacrifice: We are restored, and dare not imagine if He had taken the easy way out.

Never underestimate what looks like the weak thing. Recognize true strength when you see it. Apologize. Forgive. And thank God.

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