When we don’t like the messenger
Was Jesus ever frustrated with people? He was. He was frustrated by the attitude of many in his day who
couldn’t or wouldn’t hear the truth no matter how it was presented. The religious leaders of Jesus’ day felt they had everything figured out about God. They weren’t going to listen to anyone who didn’t fit their mold; they didn’t want to have to change their understanding or their lives.
John the Baptist arrived on the scene and called people to repentance of sins. But his odd lifestyle, living alone in the desert and wearing animal skins, put people off. He had an Old Testament ‘fire and brimstone’ kind of preaching and folks thought he had a demon.
When Jesus began his ministry it was kind of the opposite from John. Jesus lived and moved among ordinary and sinful people. His preaching was kind and gentle calling people back to a loving God. But the critics didn’t like that either. They accused Jesus of being a glutton and drunkard because he hung around with the wrong crowd.
There is no pleasing some people: “We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn.” (Matthew 11:16) Jesus was frustrated because no matter how the truth was presented to them – they refused to listen. If the messenger wasn’t to their liking they didn’t want to hear what was being said.
I have my own personal preferences, the way I like things to be. I ‘hear’ people better in certain situations than in others. What I need to watch out for is limiting my sources, only listening to people that I like.
The kingdom of God is made up of people and we are all different. We relate and interact with each other and with God in different ways. We need to make room for that. We need to remember that we can learn from people who are different from us. God uses a variety of different people and different methods to get his truth across.
Some days I need to hear from John the Baptist; I need to be confronted about my sin and how I’m living my life. If I refuse to listen I do so at my own peril. Other days, I need to hear from Jesus. I need to be reminded that I have worth, that he loves me and will help and strengthen me. If I only listen to the good stuff I can easily become lead astray. If I only listen to the hard stuff I can become judgmental and hardened.
We may not always like the messenger who brings us the truth we need to hear. But if we close our ears to God’s servants then we are in danger of developing an unhealthy spirituality. “Lord, help me to listen with open ears and discernment so I that won’t miss anything you have for me.”