This latest entry for Our Daily Journey was inspired by a line in a student’s paper. This isn’t due for another month, so if you see something, say something. Thanks!
It hurts to be misunderstood, especially when we are trying our best to love. We go the extra mile to help, and our coworker suspects we have an ulterior motive. We share some hard truth, as kindly as we can, and our friend responds by shutting us out of her life. We hold a child accountable, and he pouts and cries, “I hate you!”
If you are tired of being misunderstood, take heart. History’s greatest act of love was misunderstood at the time. No one who saw Jesus on the cross thought his death was an act of love. His enemies believed he was a blasphemer or at least a rebel who was getting what he deserved. “He saved others,” they scoffed, “but he can’t save himself!” (Matthew 27:42). Passersby assumed Jesus was merely another martyr in a long line of failed revolutionaries. Even his disciples—including his own mother—didn’t understand what Jesus was doing on the cross. They knew he was a tragic victim, but they didn’t imagine he was dying for them. No one standing at the foot of the cross guessed what was really going on.
It makes sense that great acts of love are often misunderstood at the time, because the misunderstanding is part of what makes their sacrifice great. Our love is more heroic when we fiercely love a person who does not understand or worse, misinterprets our love as hate.
But one day all will be revealed. As Jesus explained his death to the disciples on the road to Emmaus—“Wasn’t it clearly predicted that the Messiah would have to suffer all these things before entering his glory?”—so finally Jesus “will reveal our private motives. Then God will give to each one whatever praise is due” (1 Corinthians 4:5).
Don’t stop loving, especially if you are misunderstood. The agony you suffer now will be the evidence God uses to prove your love was great.
Photo by Waiting for the Word. Via Flickr. Used by permission.