I know very well the sting of feeling betrayed, of feeling that a knife was stuck in your heart and twisted unmercifully. One of the greatest trials in my life came when a person I considered a dear friend deeply wounded me and refused to even engage in a conversation where we could work together on being reconciled.

After being wounded by someone, it’s completely natural for us to focus on our pain and to harbor hostility toward the person who offended us.  It’s natural to replay every aspect of the offense to try to justify our actions or seek to understand the actions of the other person. However, as natural as that is, God has called us to die to our sinful nature, which is exactly what comes naturally for us to do. What God has called us to do—and through the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit we can do—is what He did: to give up ‘our right to be right’. When you are disappointed, angered, or hurt by someone, you have a critical choice to make. You can either focus on and insist on your ‘rights’, or you can focus on being in ‘right relationship’ with Your Heavenly Father.  You can nurture resentment or nurture a relationship with God:  you cannot do both.

What had been one of the greatest trials of my life became a great blessing when I chose to focus my eyes on Jesus and what He endured for me, rather than focusing my thoughts on my own pain. Like looking through binoculars, the lens was either going to be on Him, or on me: I had to choose.  I recalled that I had prayed to be conformed into His likeness, and He led me to know that I could never have an inkling of what He suffered and willingly gave up for me if I never experienced betrayal, rejection, or suffering from the wounds of a friend.

If we are to be disciples of Jesus, we must ‘pick up our cross’ and follow after Him (Luke 9:23).  Philippians 2: 1-11 portrays what it means to ‘pick up your cross” and follow Jesus’ example:

“So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

Jesus was willing to humble Himself to the point of a horrible death on the cross out of obedience to His Heavenly Father, Who knew Jesus’ death was the only way that you and I could have the possibility of fellowship with Him, a holy God. Are you willing to ‘empty yourself’ of any and everything that stands in the way of you being in ‘right relationship’ with Jesus — including your ‘right to be right’?  Ask Jesus to fill you with the same humility He demonstrated when He chose the cross for your sake and mine and put our interests ahead of His own.

Written by Julie Van Gorp