The Great Misunderstanding

Have you ever been misunderstood? Have you ever spent time watching people repeatedly miscalculate your worth? Your ethics? Your beliefs?

Praise God. I have found this to be a significant character builder. You have understanding of what God feels like when we disregard his commands. The very words that were meant to bring life bring death because of sin. God is misunderstood as we misjudge him. This is a great misfortune for men.

The Lord who created heaven and earth hides himself. He allowed Moses to see his back as he passed by; God came to Elijiah in a whisper of wind; the disciples saw a transfigured Christ. They also misunderstood a marred and broken Jesus on the cross. They scattered because they did not understand the purpose.

When Christ knocks on our souls’ door and because of the grace of God and power of the Holy Spirit through the words of the all-inspired Bible we open the door, he wears us as masks of grace. When we act as Christians, we are offered a cross. The Apostle Paul spoke of a “thorn in his flesh”. This “messenger of Satan” was sent to him so that he would rely on Jesus power and grace, which is “made perfect in weakness.” We’re unsure what the thorn in the Apostle’s flesh was. What we’re sure of is that it wasn’t the only obstacle that he faced. He was shipwrecked, stoned, beaten, abused, maligned, mistreated, and overlooked. He was misunderstood.

Jesus was crucified to pay for the sins of the whole world. Because Jesus had lived perfectly, actively fulfilling all of God’s requirements in our place, died, and rose to justify us, Paul had the opportunity and authority, along with the other Apostles, to be instruments of God’s grace. Many of the Apostles wrote the books of the New Testament. They passed along to us the words that teach our souls about Christ. How he was misunderstood and what that led to for us: salvation for our souls.

This is why Jesus could preach the words of the Beatitudes to those Christians with “ears that can hear”. He could do it because the misunderstanding about who Jesus was led to the forgiveness of the sins for those who believe.

Now when he saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them saying:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.┬áRejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Matthew 5:1-12)

I have lived with misunderstanding in my life. It pains me to watch others misunderstand me; I’m sure this is a common feature in the lives of men. But trusting in our Savior, who was crucified because sinful men did not understand him, we can be confident that we are “blessed” even if this is the small, but sharp and painful, “thorn” in our flesh.

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