“Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” – Matthew 5:19 (NASB)
For the past 3 months, I have been going through a caustic battle of wills with a specific individual in my life. This fight had become so caustic, that we are no longer on speaking terms. The worst part is, is that I feel like a prisoner in my own life – or I had, until I prayed to understand the root of the problem.
I, like many prophetic people, have had a long life of rejection and persecution. I was physically and emotionally attacked when I was a child. I was persecuted for my faith in my community – and still am, even today. I have had pastors tell me that I am possessed, when unbeknownst to them I had been told hours before by the Lord that this is exactly what they would say and not to believe it. I have had family and friends berate me for years for simply having a voice, and standing up for what is right. You’re too “sensitive” or “timid” they would say. In theory, I knew what I was saying had merit – but in reality, I came from such a life of imposed control, that the moment I gained any measure of personal freedom I vowed to never again let one more boundary or rule ever become my chains again.
The irony, is that this retaliation made those chains all the more permanent. Instead of standing up for myself, after a while I chose to simply keep my mouth shut and “take it” best I could. The potential for conflict after a while simply becomes too painful for a soul and spirit already feeling worthless and beaten down as it is. One more negative comment, and I could crack. So, since life seemed to keep me on such a short leash of retribution, I have often kept silent.
I am being candid, as I know there are many reading this post who feel the same way I do. One tough break after another seems to come. You feel like a magnet for oppression – when in reality, we are the ones allowing it, as we are the ones teaching it is okay by never saying anything at all to put injustice in it’s place.
In Matthew 5:19, Jesus speaks of this odd dynamic. He reiterates that those who fail to stand up for the law (what is right), will end up becoming the least [dignified] in the kingdom of God. However, those who live by God’s commandments, and teach them, will be considered the greatest [the Greek here suggesting wide affecting]. If you wish to have impact, you have to stand up for the 10 commandments just as Christ did. By allowing injustice, you are teaching that those commandments are worthless. When that happens, it is you that is belittled, not your oppressor.
As I sat across from my counselor this afternoon, I reflected back on my practice of advocating for the homeless. I knew I had a blind spot in terms of setting boundaries, but until now, I never could pinpoint why. I feel a great burden has been lifted. Not only do the tenets of God deserve to be defended, but I deserve to be defended as well. That might seem to be a simple revelation, but when you have lived years feeling like others see you as garbage and a curse, it is a life changing revelation. The fact that God would set this entire situation up to teach me that, brings me beyond any gratitude that this mere heart could communicate. Once again, I am blown away by His love.