What tone do you use when you read Christ’s words?
In your head, as you’re reading the Gospels, when Jesus speaks, what tone of voice do you assign to Him?
Usually the first time I read through a passage I read it with in an annoyed voice. The Jesus in my head—at least the first version of Him—is full of eye rolls, impatience, and sharp words.
Exasperated Jesus says, “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and a divided household falls.” Oh yeah, I can read between the lines. I know what He’s really saying. “Geesh, you idiots! Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste—obviously! Think about it! And hey! He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters, okay? So do me a favor and don’t mess this all up.”
That Jesus is a jerk. But really, that’s not Jesus—that’s me. That’s me and my perfectionism, my impatience, my lack of compassion, my lack of love.
Those are just some of the things that I need Christ to strip me of. I must decrease and He must increase in my heart, in my actions, in the way I speak to others, and in my thoughts.
I go back and re-read it, decreasing myself and increasing Him. What would it sound like if His words were delivered the exact opposite of mine: if they were filled with tolerance for my mistakes, compassion for my ignorance, patience for my growth, and love for me?
Suddenly I see what He’s saying to His disciples. “He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters. Do this with me. But if it is by the finger of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. I have come to you. Do this with me.”
Are you allowing yourself to really hear a loving Jesus?
Bonnie Engstrom is a writer, baker, speaker and homemaker. She lives with her husband and five children in central Illinois. You can find out more about her here.