From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.
Remember the last time you were in the middle of a round that went so bad you though life could not possibly get any worse. We quickly realized when we got home that it really wasn’t that bad of a day. Our mind gets in the moment during our apparent suffering and takes control to convince us of our discontent. The score may not have been as good as we intended before we left the house, but we were physically able to get out and participate in an activity we (usually) enjoy.
Things seem to be always the most dim when we in the midst of a bad season of life. When are out of the valley, we always seem to have the reflection that “it really wasn’t that bad.” God was in control and delivered us from utter ruin. The same is true with our opinions of people around us. It seems the public has a more saintly opinion of most every Christian when he or she dies more so than when they were among us. The Christian is often persecuted by the public and society, but then granted superior status in its mind when they leave the scene. It’s almost like they are happy he or she won’t be around any more to spread the gospel. Often times, Christians are more critical of fellow Christians than sinners could ever be. Certainly rebuke and reproof are necessary elements of a Christian relationship, but being critical is more of an attack or critique of the person in a negative light solely to demean. God wants us to lift up the people around us. There is enough things in the world to belittle.
The opinion of the world does little to help the spirit of the believer. It is the only flesh which is hurt, broken, or vilified by the things we hear or read written about our efforts. Instead of breaking down our neighbor, we need to make a conscious effort to emphasize their positives. Thomas Watson wrote over 300 years ago that, “Wicked men seem to bear great reverence to the saints departed; they canonize dead saints, but persecute living.” A living saint is persecuted by the sinful because he or she is the salt of the Earth. The works and memories of the canonized saint live on past death, but the lost world does not have the spiritual sense of this realization. They are of the “out of sight, out of mind” perception.
Paul in Galatians 6:17 wrote about his thickened skin. He made a conscious effort to realize that the words and actions of man can do nothing to him. The marks and scars of Christ had desensitized his body against the effect of man’s inflictions. He’d been imprisoned, chained, persecuted, and beaten by the world. In 2 Corinthians 11:25-26, Paul detailed that he was “Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, inperils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren.” He shared these experiences not for the sake of his sorrow, but for the sake of the cross. Even though Paul was hated and tormented, any apparent sufferings were secondary to the uplifting of the cross. Paul was able to see the “big picture. So let us make a conscious effort to lift up our fellow brother or sister so that Christ might be better exalted through their life. The world gives them enough strife already.