"Give it a rest"

Harold J. Ockenga, friend of Billy Graham and first president of Fuller Seminary and the National Association of Evangelicals, was one of the founding fathers of American evangelicalism. But like most great leaders, Ockenga was not perfect. His problem was sarcasm.

The same brilliant mind and quick tongue that enabled Ockenga to shine in the pulpit also wreaked havoc on his friendships. He wrote in his journal that his tendency to denigrate others "follows me wherever I go, which causes people to not like to be with me." His friends confronted him, and his girlfriend threatened to break up with him, but he never completely conquered his penchant for the put-down.

How different was Jesus! Although He is the perfect person, Jesus never used His excellence as an excuse to be critical of others. He didn't take cheap shots and exaggerate the weaknesses of others for effect. Jesus didn't mock James and John as "Mama's boys" or call Peter "Mr. Motormouth." He didn't even think He had to win every argument. When a Gentile woman rebutted His statement that "It isn't right to take food from the children and throw it to the dogs," Jesus replied, "Good answer!" and healed her daughter (Mark 7:27-30).

Jesus used His perfection and power to inspire others. He released an adulteress to "go and sin no more" (John 8:11), announced to a repentant tax cheat: "Salvation has come to this home today" (Luke 19:9), and invited bumbling disciples to "take My yoke upon you. Let Me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls" (Matthew 11:29). It doesn't take talent, beauty, or money to be a friend like Jesus. Friends will find you if you listen, care, and provide a safe place to rest. , Mike Wittmer, Our Daily Journey

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