When was the last time you got your feelings hurt? Has it been even 24 hours? Maybe the person you thought was your best friend named someone else as her best friend. Maybe you didn’t get the credit you thought you deserved for something. Maybe when the director of the Sunday school program thanked everyone publicly for his or her participation, your name was the only one not mentioned.
In Syria and Iraq they’re getting their heads chopped off. These are people walking in the footsteps of our Lord and picking up where He left off in earthly sufferings:
“… in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions …” (Colossians 1:24, ESV).
What were Jesus’ main sufferings? I mean from a longitudinal perspective, not just His last three hellish days on earth. Were they physical blows? I don’t think so. To be sure, sleeping in fields (Luke 9:58) and scrounging food where he could find it (Mark 2:23) was not pleasant by the standards of our day. But this He shared with others in his day—and with most men who have lived in most times.
As I survey the gospels, what I see as Christ’s main suffering is rejection, humiliation, mockery, and betrayal, aka hurt feelings. How do you think you would feel if people were laughing at you as you went into a house to do a miracle?
“… he said, ‘Go away, for the girl is not dead but sleeping.’ And they laughed at him” (Matthew 9:24, ESV).
“He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him” (John 1:11, ESV).
“And when his family heard of it, they went out to seize him, for they were saying, ‘He is out of his mind’” (Mark 3:21, ESV).
“So his brothers said to him, ‘Leave here and go to Judea, that your disciples may also see the works you are doing. For no one works in secret if he seeks to be known openly [supply sarcastic tone of voice]. For not even his brothers believed in him” (John 7:3-5, ESV).
Hurtful relationship issues were a major part of Jesus’ own sufferings—the sufferings He dealt with the same way you and I can:
“When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly” (1 Peter 2:23, ESV).
Does it help to know that if you will willingly endure the hurt feelings life serves up you will be in good company? You will be doing it in privileged union with the matchless One who walked that road ahead of you.