The Silent Struggle

By Leah Swank Partnership Coordinator

I recently googled the question, “What does it mean to be Christlike?”, curious to see what good ole Google had to say on the subject. I came across a link that defined Christlikeness in two ways.

Christlike:
1.  like Christ; showing the spirit of Christ
2. resembling or showing the spirit of Jesus

Mind blowing stuff, I know.

I have been really wrestling with what it looks like to be Christlike recently. Some might point me to a great passage of scripture in Philippians 2, which gives very tangible descriptions of what set Christ apart while he was here on earth. This is a great passage, but it has seemed to only be scratching the surface in my heart. Others have mentioned Isaiah 53, detailing the humility of Christ and the brutality of his death. Such a powerful passage, but once again, just scratching the surface.

Do any of you have people in your life that in the thick of really dark and chaotic moments, flip the light on in your heart to a new perspective when it comes to Jesus? For me that was my dad this morning.

Long story short, I found myself reliving some deep hurts. While I was venting to my dad, I told him that I felt like I had no voice. I felt as though others were throwing out all kinds of false accusations and stirring up some pretty far fetched lies, and while all of this was taking place I was being told to not respond and to remain Christlike. To put it lightly, the struggle was real because being Christlike felt like a losing battle and I was growing tired of it. That’s when dad turned on the lights and gave me a serious heart check about what Christlikeness looks like. In short, it all can be traced back to the hours that led to the cross.

Throughout the Gospels, we read several accounts of Jesus’ arrest, judgement, crucifixion, and resurrection. All with slight variations in details, but the story remains the same. Jesus was arrested, brought before men of power to judge him, was sentenced to death by the cross, and three days later rose from the grave. Several of us have become experts at this story, myself included, but today I learned of a detail that I am guilty of overlooking.

When Jesus is brought before the men in power of that time, he speaks very few times. In fact the only answers he gives are in regards to questions asked about who he is. When asked questions by the Pharisees that were merely schemes to trap him, scripture says he remained silent. Can you even imagine? Standing in a courtyard of people throwing false accusations at you, spitting lies about you to your face, denying your character, all without saying a word. How Jesus’ heart must have broken a little more as each falsehood was said against him.

You have to wonder why the silence? Why endure the lies?

The answer is simple. Jesus, knew the hearts of all those accusing him. He knew that whatever he said, they would not listen to. He also knew the depths of their sin. So he remained silent. From the beginning God had a redemptive plan set in motion long ago that would lead Jesus to bear an old rugged cross. He knew that it would be on that cross that Jesus would bear the weight of the sins past, present and future for all.

Despite the lies being said about him, he loved the ones speaking them. Enough to remain silent. Enough to bear the cross. Enough to die.

Choosing to be like Christ is not always easy, in fact it can be a real struggle at times. However, if we purpose in our hearts to willingly follow in Jesus’ example, sometimes that means remaining silent. Silence does not mean cutting people off and out of our lives, but it does mean allowing the Lord to speak truth into the hearts of those we love. It means allowing God to display his character and heart for those we find hard to love through unexpected ways. It also means that we place a renewed trust in the knowledge that Jesus died not only because he loved us, but them as well.