At a four-way intersection today, after following the usual rules for such a traffic pattern, I took my turn and made a left turn in front of another vehicle. I saw immediately by the other driver’s gesture that he was angry at me. I mentally reviewed the rules: when vehicles approach at the same time, the vehicle on the right has “right of way”. In the alternative, when the traffic is heavy, and a pattern is established, then you follow the pattern. No matter what rule was applied, I was in the clear “right”. Yet the other driver was angry. I wondered what “injustice” he had perceived or in what way he felt “aggrieved”.
Of course, in such situations, there is no opportunity to sit down cordially and discuss the issue. It is almost certain that a discussion would be unproductive in any event. I could have trotted out my credentials as an ex-cop with a law degree but that would probably only have made him madder. The man was determined to be angry and that was that. Sometimes people get like that.
As we study famous men from history who possess the character traits that define “statesmanship”, we discover that they too had their accusers and detractors. It is a virtual certainty that when one strenuously defends an issue that has strong emotions associated therewith, somebody, somewhere, is going to be “offended”. That should be no surprise as we are told in the gospel of Matthew ( 5:10 NIV) “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” In verses 11-13 Jesus tells us “ Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you. Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. (Mt 5: 11-13 KJV)
So they (religious leaders) persecuted the prophets who only spoke only God’s truth. Jesus tells us that our response to unjust accusation is be “the salt of the earth”, maintaining our position in love and in grace, enduring and giving only good in return. Now, doesn’t that sound a lot like the definition and application of “statesmanship”? Here is something really interesting … If YOU can’t do that (if the salt has lost its flavor), then WHO will? (wherewith will it be salted?) If you can’t (or won’t) stand firm in the love of Christ, proclaiming His truth, then what good are you? (It is henceforth good for nothing!)
When we answer the calling of God in our lives, we commit to be His light and salt on the earth. It comes at some cost to us, but then we have been “bought with a price” so our service is His anyway. ( I Cor 6:20) When we commit to Christ, He shapes us and conditions us so that we are fit for HIS service. Trials and adversity are the usual method used to make us “mission capable”. Luke 14:28 says, "For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it? Or, as they say in Tennessee, “If you can’t run with the big dogs, then you’d better not even got off of the porch!”
You have been called. Did you answer “Here am I Lord, send me?”