Bad stuff and bad behavior
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.
- Hebrews 4:15
Bad stuff can tempt us to bad behavior.
When bad things happen, we can become selfish and self-centered. We justify this behavior under the umbrella of self-protection. Wounded by the world, we demand accommodation after accommodation, slipping beyond reason into unhealthy navel-gazing.
When bad things happen, we can become vicious. We beat the badness back with bitter behavior. We gossip and backbite. We harden our hearts. We throw verbal punches and erect walls of ice.
When bad things happen, we can become apathetic. We curl up and let the world kick us. We cower in corners and collapse on couches. We take our ball and go home. We throw up our hands and pretend not to care.
Jesus faced all of these temptations and resisted them all. He remained vulnerable even in the face of the cross. He treated his accusers and executors with gentle kindness. He hung in there until the end.
The endurance of Jesus in the face of temptation doesn’t shame us. He faced down temptation because we couldn’t on our own. But now we who follow him find his Spirit filling us, empowering us to resist temptation in new and powerful ways.
What temptations are being fueled by your experience of suffering? Invite Jesus’ Spirit to fill you with the love and gentleness and courage to resist that temptation. Enjoy his closeness to you today.