Is it Personal?
This is a story about 3 men. The first being an old preacher who went on a well-deserved holiday with his lovely wife; the second being a young preacher who came to house-sit; and the third, a man who was having an awfully bad day. The phone rang and our house-sitting preacher-boy answered it with his characteristically bright, cheery voice. It was our third man, and yes, his day was bad, and yes, he was about to share his worst. What followed was a tirade of abuse that even a hardened atheist might deem excessive. The poor preacher-boy found himself being verbally pummelled. Each insult was to be a blow to the ear, and each accusation a jab to the heart. Judgements of personal ineptitude flew, and a lot of angry finger pointing was waved in the direction of the congregation for its lack of care and concern for others. It got worse. The caller chocked the air with curses. Insisting that the church of Satan was a better option; given how bad the local church had become in his eyes. Then he hung up!
The holidaying couple returned, and having heard about the call, pleaded for understanding. Our, now composed, third man phoned our preacher-boy and begged his forgiveness. All was well. Later, our young preacher was heard to say, “Though there was most certainly a need for understanding, I expected no apologies. I was hearing a hurting man try to make himself feel better by taking it out on his preacher—It wasn’t personal.” The blows, albeit verbal, meant for one man was absorbed by another and never reached their intended target. You know, we have an accuser who sits on our line. Taking every opportunity to render blows of accusation upon us. Accusations concerning the truth of our guilt. Guilt generated by breaking God’s laws. But we have a friend. He has picked up for us. He reminds Satan that he has absorbed the punishment for our sins.” How did he do it? By “having cancelled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross” (Colossians 2:14). Is it personal..? It is to Jesus!