What to do when friendship hurts
From John: A 21-Day Devotional
As Jesus becomes more well-known, everyone has an opinion about what He should do next. His brothers ridiculed Him, a crowd calls Him demon-possessed, and religious leaders attempt to arrest Him.
Sometimes following God can lead you to lonely places. Jesus’ own brothers questioned His divinity and seemed to mock Him, pushing Him to go public and show everyone who He really was. Jesus dealt with criticism from His brothers, criticism from neighbors, and death threats from the religious leaders who should have been on His side.
“Whoever speaks on their own does so to gain personal glory, but he who seeks the glory of the one who sent him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him” (John 7:18).
The very people who should have supported and sustained Jesus’ ministry turned against Him, yet He continued to do the right thing. Jesus did not grow bitter or angry; He did not plot revenge or plan a public relations campaign to promote Himself. Instead, Jesus chose not to take His rightful place as God. He chose to humble Himself, stay out of the confusion and offer spiritual refreshment to anyone who was looking for something new (John 7:37).
We can take heart because we’ve given our lives to the same Jesus that dealt with real life problems. When we feel lonely and left out, we know He felt the same way and responded in love. We can rest in the knowledge that Jesus suffered and faced hardship, but it never conquered Him. That means sorrow, loneliness, and hardships do not have to conquer us. No matter your circumstances, Jesus can understand exactly where you are and help you stand strong. Because Jesus faced loneliness, you do not have to face it alone.
• What can you learn about Jesus from this chapter?
• Do you have a troubled relationship with someone in your life? How can you respond to this person differently knowing you have the strength Jesus offers?
• Are you putting off a decision because you are afraid of the outcome or worried about being ostracized? How can you proceed?