Then Pilate questioned Him again, saying, “Do You not answer? See how many charges they bring against You!” But Jesus made no further answer; so Pilate was amazed.
~ Mark 15:4-5
Having the attribute of restraint, is not a common quality seen in people. I, myself, have done things, and said things, that I wish I could take back. Unfortunately, once the act is performed, or the words are spoken, it is there for all to see and hear. An apology may help, but the harm has already been committed.
I know my weaknesses, and have been ashamed. There have been times, when someone cut me off in traffic, and I became angry; times when someone was rude, and I had no trouble letting it be known; times when someone was unfair, and I spoke my mind, before I had all the facts; and times when someone acted in a way that I felt was inappropriate, and I became accusatory or judgmental.
I confess, this is one of my ugly, sinful qualities, and God has forgiven, and helped me in this area, yet I know, I am not alone. Many today, feel as if it is so important to have their rights be known, even when someone is being hurt in the process. It is extremely easy to mouth off, but takes much more strength and character to be silent.
Let’s look at the example of Jesus. He was being unfairly blamed, but He showed restraint, and said nothing. He was being insulted, and called names, but He never retaliated. He was being poked, prodded and beaten, but He did nothing. Some may think, well, He was God, so it was easy for Him to remain silent. But the scriptures clearly tell us, He was tempted in every way.
We must remember, that He came in human form, so He knows exactly the ways we are tempted. If we think that it did not cross His mind to wave His arm and annihilate all of His accusers, I think we might be wrong. If we think that He was not tempted to flee the scene, or come down from the cross, we could possibly be wrong. The extreme pain of the nails going into His hands, could have become nothing, with just a spoken word from His mouth, but He chose restraint, submission, and great love for the human race.
If Jesus set this great example of restraint, couldn’t we learn from that? Had we been in Jesus’ shoes, while being accused, spit on, called names, and under harsh contempt, I think, most of us would have spoken out for our rights. With the help of God and His Holy Spirit indwelling in us, we can tap into His strength of restraint, and truly put others first, or we can at least learn to hold our tongues until a more Christ-like solution is implemented.
Ephesians 5:21 says, “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” Showing restraint, and submitting to one other, is one way we can give our praise of deep respect to the Lord for all He has done for us. If we all were in the business of shutting our mouths, showing restraint, and loving like Christ, just imagine the peace we would have in this world. We can’t control the actions of others, but we can control ours, through Christ.
Dear Father, I know there is a time to speak, and a time to be silent. Show me when I need to exercise restraint. Amen
~ Jenny Calvert