abovethefray
I recently heard that approximately 25% of the people we know do not like us. Period. It doesn’t matter what we do to try to win them over they still will not like us. We can buy them gifts. Do them favors. Compliment them. It will not matter because nothing is going to change the fact that they simply do not like us.

Not only do we have that 25% to deal with, we also have the remaining 75% who for as much as they like us, will at some point mistreat us worse than the other 25%. No one is better to us than our loved ones, but then again, no one is typically the most critical of us than our closest loved ones – know what I mean? It is going to happen. People are going to hurt us, and guess what? We, as wonderful as we are, are going to hurt others, too, at times.

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So what do we do when someone mistreats us? Fire back? As much as we think we will enjoy that moment, it is really not a good plan-not if we want to live a crucified life. Jesus not only modeled the crucified life, but He challenges us to live one also. He wants us live above the fray of fighting, criticizing, gossiping and planning paybacks.

When I think about the last week of Jesus’ life, it reminds me how fickle people are. Jesus rides into town like a champ! People are singing His praises, throwing palms at His feet, and by the end of the week He is the most hated person in town. They whipped Him, mocked Him, pulled out His whiskers, and spat in His face. How did He maintain His composure? After much prayer, Jesus made a resolution. Jesus had resolved to endure to the end in the Garden of Gethsemane just a few days earlier, and He was now completely focused on accomplishing the crucified life, death and resurrection just as planned.

Then they came to a place named Gethsemane, and He told His disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” 33 He took Peter, James, and John with Him, and He began to be deeply distressed and horrified. 34 Then He said to them, “My soul is swallowed up in sorrow[a] —to the point of death. Remain here and stay awake.” 35 Then He went a little farther, fell to the ground, and began to pray that if it were possible, the hour might pass from Him. 36 And He said, “Abba, Father! All things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me. Nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will.” Mark 14:32-36

42 He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.” 43 When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. 44 So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, being in anguish, He prayed more fervently, and His sweat became like drops of blood falling to the ground. 45 Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour is near, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Luke 22:42-45

If Jesus took the time to resolve to live a crucified life, wouldn’t it be beneficial for us to do the same thing? I think so. Because Jesus was determined to be obedient to God’s given purpose for Him, He was able to stay above the fray. He did not unleash His wrath on His adversaries even though He would have been completely justified. For all the unspeakable ugliness happening at the bottom of that cross, Jesus hung as the epitome of a completely crucified life, above the fray. Can you get that image in your mind?

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In return, I want to live above the fray. When co-workers taunt me, I will rise above it. When I am personally attacked for my beliefs, I will focus my eyes heavenward. Even if my own family turns on me, my eyes will remain fixed on Jesus. Instead of being pulled down, I look toward the hills from where my help comes. I have resolved to not engage in petty arguments or be easily offended. I am determined to live the crucified life because that is the only way I will stay above the fray.

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Gina Duke is a blogger, speaker and author of “Organizing Your Prayer Closet” (Abingdon Press). She also owns a Human Resources consulting firm where she conducts training, executive coaching and recruits automotive professionals for top automotive suppliers. She has a Bachelor of Science in Organizational Leadership and is currently completing her Associates degree in ministry. Gina is on staff at her local church where she serves as Director of Women’s Ministries. You may subscribe to her blog at GinaDuke.com or follow her on Twitter @TheGinaDuke.

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