Why Do We Disgrace Others?
There are not many issues in life that are harder to face than having a spouse or boyfriend/girlfriend cheat on you. It is a devastating event that wreaks havoc with your emotions and mind. To have that trust betrayed by the closest person to you is one of the most distressing things a person can go through.
I’ve heard many people say that if their significant other ever cheated on them that they would automatically end the relationship. They would be justified in their decision to do so as a relationship cannot survive without trust. However, I now that no one really knows what they will do in a situation until they are in that situation, facing it head on. Some have said they would leave immediately but didn’t when it actually happened. Others who thought they could weather anything couldn’t handle all the emotions and distrust that come with unfaithfulness.
None of us want to be betrayed.
None of us want to be hurt by someone else.
None of us really even want to be offended.
It would be nice if we could just go through life without any one hurting us, betraying us or even offending us. Sounds like Utopia right? Well, as long as we live on this earth in its present state, we are going to get betrayed, hurt and offended. It’s what we do with the person that has betrayed, hurt or offended us that matters.
I have been betrayed, hurt and offended. Unfortunately, as much as it pains me to admit it, I have betrayed, hurt and offended others. Some have given me grace, mercy and forgiveness. Others have not. It’s a part of life that we all have to deal with.
I am a Christian, which means that I follow the teachings of Jesus and try to live my life as He instructed us to live. Sometimes it’s been easy to follow Him but other times, as in the cases of being betrayed, hurt or offended, it isn’t easy because He expects me to forgive others as I have been forgiven.
That is hard.
I want forgiveness but I don’t always want to extend forgiveness.
One story in the Bible that really says a lot to me is when Joseph found out that Mary, his fiancée, was pregnant and the child was not his. To top it off, Mary’s claim was that this child was of God and that this child would be the Savior of the world. It’s a pretty bold claim and one that 99 percent of us would dismiss as an outlandish and wild excuse for being unfaithful. I leave room for the 1 percent of people that would believe anything.
The key part to this story, for me, is the way that Joseph handles Mary. Under the Law of Moses, Joseph could have had Mary stoned for adultery. He could have done that and moved on with his life. I am sure that his emotions were a wreak, his mind racing and that he was greatly troubled as to how to proceed. Thoughts of stoning her may have ran through his mind as he considered his plight. Revenge always seem to work its way into our thoughts when we are betrayed, hurt or offended, even if it’s a brief stay.
We really don’t know what went through Joseph’s mind or how long it took to decide what to do. We do know that Joseph was a righteous man and that he didn’t want to disgrace Mary.
Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: when His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit. 19 And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man and not wanting to disgrace her, planned to send her away secretly. 20 But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, ” Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. (Matt. 1:18-20)
Notice the part that I made bold. He was a righteous man and didn’t want to disgrace her. Wow! That is a powerful statement. It’s a statement that I want said about me. It’s a statement that I want to live up to.
When people sin against me, when they betray, hurt or offend me, I want to be a righteous man and not disgrace them. I am not completely there. Often when someone hurts me I want to hurt them back. Or I will not want to have anything to do with them at all. I will ignore them, avoid them and have conversations in my head about them.
There are have been times when I’ve been betrayed, hurt or offended that I have shared what someone did to me with others. Sometimes for sympathy, other times to disgrace the person who hurt me.
Hurting people hurt people.
The more I study the life of Jesus and the more I attempt to become like Him, I realize that I must forgive others even when they do not ask for it. In Jesus I do not see a man willing to disgrace those who betrayed or hurt him. I see a man willing to die for his enemies, willing to cry out for their forgiveness, and willing to take the shame of their sin off of them.
I want to be like that. I want to be a righteous man that is not willing to disgrace anyone because of what they have done.
Joseph lived this out. I am sure that Jesus saw the righteousness of Joseph in other actions and dealings with people. I am sure that it had an effect on Jesus. As parents we must exhibit righteousness before our children that they too will act in righteousness.
Those outside the Church expect us Christians to be judgmental and critical, harsh and condemning towards those who sin. We tend to “eat our own.” How much better of a witness would be if we decided to be righteous and not disgrace those that sin? Maybe, just maybe, our world would look a bit more Christ-like.
Do you find it hard to forgive? Do you find yourself wanting to disgrace people because they have hurt you? How do you deal with others who’ve betrayed, hurt or offended you?