Mt 20:17-28 Our Worst Nightmare
Our worst nightmare! It could easily be a phone call from the police in the middle of the night, a child gone missing, a diagnosis of cancer or HIV, or discovering marital infidelity or abuse within the family.
But none of these compare to the horror of facing evil alone – to be considered a villain within your own home.
Scripture is filled with such examples, of men and women considered dead among the living, strangers amidst their own and/or brushed off as if they had no purpose in life. They have no voice because they have no audience to address themselves to. They are not heard. They are not listened to. They are alone.
Jeremiah was one of them. “Heed me, O Lord, and listen to what my adversaries say. “Come, let us contrive a plot against Jeremiah. It will not mean the loss of instruction, nor of counsel from the wise, nor of messages from the prophets. And so, let us destroy him by his own tongue, let us carefully note his every word.” (Jer 18:18-20)
This is powerful. Every word is deep in meaning. Every word was meant to be mediated by me. These words are not for prophets alone, but for all who wish to serve the Lord in their vocations as mother, father, wife and husband.
Come, let us contrive a plot against Jeremiah. My assassins know me by name and yet they don’t know me at all! Those I am supposed to help - to reach out to, to serve and to dedicate my time and life to - are the first who wish to do me harm, to strike at me. They do not turn their backs on me. No, they face me with a multitude behind them. “Everyone does it...All my friends…Nobody's parents…”
It will not mean the loss of instruction. This is by far the worst. My words have no value, my reflections, my meditations, my advice, my counsel, my past experiences, my mistakes mean absolutely nothing to the one in front of me. It is far worse than words without meaning. It is life without purpose. I see in the eyes of the other these words written across their face: I’d do just fine without you.
Let us destroy him by his own tongue. My adversaries now have a reason to listen to me: to bite me in the back! To be used against me. Hypocrite! Lousy hypocrite! She/he isn’t at all the person they claim to be! Look at him! Look at her! Our nightmare only got worse: to cast our loneliness into our very being; to throw doubt into the very person I am. Who am I? What am I here for? Am I doing what is right? Am I a good mom, dad, etc…
If the above are happening to you, then rest assured of one thing: You are not alone. The Lord is near to those who imitate Him. To serve is hard to do. To practice what one preaches is even harder to do. But the worst nightmare that could ever happen is to give into sin - to stop serving and to stop preaching - to walk alone among the living that are truly dead!