“Then the high priest stood up before them and asked Jesus, ‘Are You not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against You?’ But Jesus remained silent and gave no answer.” — Mark 14:60
When was your last identity crisis? Five minutes ago?
Being misunderstood or wrongly characterized is the catalyst for some of the biggest insecurities in the human heart. Whether it’s as small as a comment in passing about our personality that’s not totally true, or being falsely accused of a wrongdoing, it strikes a lethal nerve in our flesh when we are misidentified.
Do you try your best to be organized, but someone mocks your accidental sloppiness? Do you take pride in your intelligence, but slip up with a simple math formula and see some smirks break out? Do you strive to hold a high bar of integrity, but then get blamed for something you had no part in?
For some, it’s enough to take the air out of you. If your identity as a person is linked to being someone with a specific stature, then it will be quite the blow to be recognized as otherwise.
What’s your reaction? Swing back as hard as you can to articulate how incorrect everyone around you is? Prove that their claims or perception of you are a complete fabrication?
Have you ever thought of being silent?
Jesus knows firsthand what it’s like to be falsely accused. To be mistakenly convicted. To hold a reputation contrary to the life He lived. He knew misunderstanding at His core.
When on trial for His life, haymaker after haymaker was thrown at Him (physically, sometimes), accusations that were utterly false on all accounts. When His identity was being called out in every facet, Jesus did what no one expected Him to do: not admit they were true or throw up his defenses. He stood silent.
The prophet Isaiah knew our Lord would face this. Isaiah 53:7 says, “He was oppressed and afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth; He was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so He did not open His mouth.”
Jesus could stay silent because He knew the will of the Father ahead of Him. He knew His true identity was the Son of God, and that could not be altered in the slightest based on anyone else’s claims.
If at our core we put our hope and worth into fleeting characteristics or positions or statuses, they will always be in jeopardy of being lost or stolen. An identity built in Christ, though, cannot be shaken and never removed from us (Ephesians 1:13). We can receive false claims of ourselves all day long and not break a sweat.
Does this mean we never respond to someone who questions our character? No, but it does mean that we need not worry about bending head over heels trying to convince others of who we actually are. God knows who we are — His — and that cannot be touched.
Where is your identity laid that you know could be threatened at any moment? Why not press into an identity as a child of God that can’t be stripped from you? You can live freely knowing you cannot be misdiagnosed by the world — because you never allowed the world to diagnose you in the first place.
— Chris Pennington
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