Here is a passage from the book of Mark that I have been pondering this morning:
Then He went out from there and came to His own country, and His disciples followed Him. And when the Sabbath had come, He began to teach in the synagogue.
And many hearing Him were astonished, saying, “Where did this Man get these things? And what wisdom is this which is given to Him, that such mighty works are performed by His hands! “Is this not the carpenter, the Son of Mary, and brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon? And are not His sisters here with us?”
So they were offended at Him.
But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own country, among his own relatives, and in his own house.”
Now He could do no mighty work there, except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them. And He marveled because of their unbelief.
Here is what struck me this time, and I have read this passage at least a hundred or more times…Jesus Himself was unable to effect change in the lives of these individuals because of their unbelief.
Well, consider, the first thing we are told is that they were astonished when they ran into Jesus again after He had been away. He had been baptized, filled with Lady Grace, purified thru testing in the wilderness, and essentially been commissioned to get on with the job of being God Incarnate. He clearly was much different!
But: this difference scared them, made them uncomfortable, and so they played out the tapes of assumption based on years of thinking they knew Him. They recite the lines, and by doing so infer that HE should be adhering to them…and then comes the real core of the issue: they were offended!
The choice to take offense is the choice to become infected with unbelief. I will post about Offense sometime, but for now, what struck me was this:
As a transgender woman, I am quite fearful of being myself openly when I am around people who “know me”, and the longer they have been acquainted with me the more reluctant I am to be open. When I am around strangers, I am openly myself in dress, vocal tones, vocabulary, gesture and countenance. It is really a big difference.
We are guilty as humans, due to laziness mostly, of allowing daily events and regular occurrences to become the scripts and stage directions by which we live and understand the world. This is evident anytime there is a significant change but is very very commonly demonstrated when someone chooses to come out. Statistically, the longer someone has been known by others as being one way, the more violent and shattering the reaction by them to the one transitioning. In this crucible, many many relationships melt down for good.
I have written before of how shocked and dismayed I was when I realized that I was not the owner of my own gender identity, but in fact everyone around me was!!
A transgender person does not own their gender identity! No, we have to claim it, and then take it, and tragically this often means that little to no relationship will ever be present again with numbers of people in their lives.
Back to the passage in Mark: even Jesus suffered from this, and was stigmatized by the twin powers of Unbelief and Assumption, and renounced in their name.
I am encouraged, oddly, by knowing that even Precious Jesus found His hands tied when He was among the offended Unbelieving people of the past.
In conclusion, join me in choosing to first of all not take offense, and then secondly to not assume we know just because we knew! I think we will all be happier, and certainly more of a blessing to God and His creatures!
(This poor thing was dressed by assumption and victimized by offense!!! giggle!)