From cheers to jeers

Psalm 146, 147 (Morning)

Psalm 111, 112, 113 (Evening)

Job 4:1-6,12-21

Revelation 4:1-11

Mark 6:1-6a

The Gospels only record two times that Jesus was amazed; one is in Luke 7, when he is amazed at the faith of the centurion. Our reading in Mark today is the other, but Jesus’ amazement has gone from the penthouse to the outhouse–he’s amazed at the unbelief in his home town.

It’s easily understandable. There’s a special kind of sting when any of us are scoffed at by people we think we know–or even love dearly–and we think they are close enough to us to know and understand us. It can hurt in a far more cutting way than someone who’s relatively a stranger. It’s why bullying can hurt so much that the one bullied tries to stop the pain by attempting to end his or her own life. It’s why rifts in families can, at times, be the hardest kind of situation to heal. It’s why divorces can turn ugly. I suspect when the crowd turned in a heartbeat from being amazed themselves, to jeering him and dissing his family lineage, it truly stung Jesus. It certainly would have made him less likely to interact with the people there, and it would have made those desirous of healing a lot less likely to step forward to be healed–the end result being that Jesus ended up having a less than stellar day in the miracle department.

The hard reality, though, is that many of us, working under the presumption that those close to us know and understand us, often fail to give those folks the benefit of the doubt, when we are busy, or stressed, or fearful. When we’re on the receiving end, it burns like fire; when we’re on the delivery end, we’re often confused. “Huh? What’d I do?”

We don’t really understand exactly why the hometown crowd went from cheers to jeers, but we can take note of how Jesus handled it–“Then he went about the villages teaching.” In short, he went elsewhere and tried again. He didn’t let the hurt keep him down.

One of the problems when we study the Bible is we never get to hear the rest of the story. We’re left wondering. Did any of those folks who gave Jesus such a hard time change their mind? Were some acting out of peer pressure and asked forgiveness later? Did they have regrets after the crucifixion? Did they go, “Well, I’ll be darned,” after the Resurrection? We’ll never know.

Likewise, we don’t know what will ever change later down the road in our relationships with others when we are stung by deep misunderstandings between us and those we love and care about–what particularly comes to mind for me is when we suffer the difficult and painful end of an intimate relationship, despite our best efforts to preserve it. We can’t make other people see it our way. Sometimes, distance and time is the great leveler, hard as it is.

When is a time you tried too hard to reverse someone else’s unbelief, and they would have none of it? What did you learn when you finally put some distance and time between you and them?

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