Saturday, December 19, 2009

Dealing with the Cold Shoulder

Recall being snubbed? I was awoken in a dream to an event of my own snubbing recently. A party of friends (perhaps more apt, associates) skipped away from me and I only noticed them looking back at me mischievously in the street to see if they were actually getting away. They noticed me twig and I just kept going, obviously upset at being snubbed. If I was into dream interpretation I could draw some present parallels, but I’m not. I can’t say, however, that being snubbed has happened to me recently. In fact, rarely has it happened in my adult memory. But, it sure did happen when I was a child.

Being snubbed is a form of bullying, yet when it happens it can mean so much more than a concept. We’re rubbed with a chastening cloth and the world seems foreign. We feel alone and perhaps even afraid, and certainly not welcome.

I said I hadn’t faced the cold shoulder much, even rarely, in adult life. But that’s not entirely true, is it? I don’t think it’s entirely true for any of us.

We face it every day in reality. Our views, or perhaps merely our presence, meet with the opposition of others for a plethora of reasons. (The temptation to the converse is also true.)

And for the Christian person this has relevance in at least two ways; one for ourselves, and another for others—both of whom when dealing with the sting of the cold shoulder.

The Christian should know and expect and indeed anticipate the cold shoulder. Jesus said in John 15:20, “If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also.” It is important that we’re persecuted for not laughing at smutty jokes or for not ridiculing the wheels of justice. In our refusal to go the world’s way, we will rub the world up the wrong way!

Jesus also said in Matthew 5:44 that we must pray for those who persecute us, and choose to love them. In both accepting this very minor persecution of being snubbed (compared with the persecution that goes on in other parts of the world and cultures, say in wartime and oppression) and loving others in their persecution of us, we shine the Jesus light into their lives, potentially. We, personally, also derive the blessings of God all over us in this! For, God sees and we see him seeing and we feel his compassion on us. And his compassion is all we truly need!

Secondarily, the Christian person should be on the lookout for those in their midst’s who’re undergoing the cold shoulder. This is the person not to fight for, but to get alongside. We love them; we show them the warm shoulder in the name of our God, Jesus.

And these are our targets, pretty much. We are charged by Jesus himself. The underling, the poor in spirit; the hungry; the thirsty; the prisoner; the sick; the poor and maimed—the person with vanquished pride—these are Jesus’, and by virtue of that fact, they indeed are ours too.

© 2009 S. J. Wickham.

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