Text: I was reproach among all mine enemies, but especially among my neighbours, and a fear to mine acquaintance; they that did see me without fled from me.”
Good morning, wounded Christian! You have got yourself caught up in some foolishness and sin; and as a result you are lying battered and Spiritually bruised, with your Spiritual armour hung up so tight in a closet that you fear you may never fight in the great Spiritual Battle again. If this describes you today, beloved in Christ, read on, for the author has both good news for you, and a dire warning as to how you proceed. The Lord God will ALWAYS hear your repentant cry, but be careful how you approach other believers with your problem - for many within the professing Christian church worldwide today have a tendency to ’shoot their own wounded’!
“I was a derision to all my people; and their song all the day.” (Lamentations 3:14)
“It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Thy faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-23)
When reproached, opposed, and hindered by anti-Christian enemies - the world, the flesh, the Devil - we can rejoice; we can rejoice to know that the power of God within us is being used by the Lord Who indwells us to be ‘salt and light’ among a world of Spiritual darkness and increased depravity.
However, when our professing ‘Christian’ neighbours especially set out to reproach us, oppose us, or downright hinder our labours for Christ Jesus - it is especially hard to bear! Self-righteousness is rampant within the professing Christian church worldwide, and self-righteousness will always seek to score points rather than encourage true restoration in love. There are some that will seek to find faults. There are others who will see faults and seek to address them in Christ like love and compassion. I wonder, dear friend, which type of Christian are YOU and I?
Verse 11. “I was a reproach among all mine enemies. They were pleased to have something to throw at me; my mournful estate was music to them, because they maliciously interpreted it to be a judgment from Heaven upon me. Reproach is little thought of by those who are not called to endure it, but he who passes under its lash knows how deep it wounds. The best of men may have the bitterest of foes and be subjected to the most cruel taunts.” (C.H. Spurgeon, Treasury of David, page 150)
I learned a valuable lesson one day while living as a Christian prisoner within a maximum security prison in Northern Ireland. I was seeking to live for Christ to the best of my very fallible abilities, and trying to be ‘salt and light’ to the other inmates constantly, and gaining souls for Christ as a direct consequence. However, I received a stern reproach the day I swatted and killed a tormenting fly! “Huh! You're some Christian!", was the quick thrust of reproach; “That fly wasn’t harming you!”
I looked this hypocrite in the eye and informed him that if he took time to come with me to my cell, I would talk with him and forthrightly reveal to him some of the very real unchristian traits of my old nature, traits that I battled with every single day. But if swatting a fly was the only fault he could reproach me with, then I was a very happy Christian man indeed!
“If anyone strives after patience and humility, he is a hypocrite. If he allows himself in the pleasures of this world, he is a glutton. If he seeks justice, he is impatient; if he seeks it not, he is a fool. If he would be prudent, he is stingy; if he would make others happy, he is dissolute. If he gives himself up to prayer, he is vainglorious. And this is the great loss of the church, that by means like these many are held back from goodness! Which the Psalmist lamenting says, ‘I became a reproof among all mine enemies.'" (Chrysostom 347-407 AD, quoted by J.M. Neale1818-1866)
‘Quick, Shoot the Wounded!’: Coup de grace (French) - the practice of delivering a merciful death blow or shot to end the suffering of one mortally wounded on the battlefield. Putting mortally wounded soldiers ’out of their misery’ by administering a quick death blow or shot to the head/heart. Shooting a horse that has broken its leg.
Verse 11. “…But especially among my neighbours. Those who are nearest can stab the sharpest. We feel most the slights of those who should have shown us sympathy.”
Verse 11. “And a fear to mine acquaintance. The more intimate before, the more distant did they become. Our Lord was denied by Peter, betrayed by Judas, and forsaken by all in the hour of His utmost need. All the herd turn against a wounded deer. The milk of human kindness curdles when a despised believer is the victim of slanderous accusations.”
Verse 11. “They that did see me without fled from me. How villainous a thing is slander which can thus make an eminent saint, once the admiration of his people, to become the general butt, the universal aversion of mankind!” (C.H. Spurgeon, Treasury of David, page 151)
When a Spiritually ‘wounded’ believer comes to us, let us be very careful to help to bind his/her wounds; pray with them; encourage full Spiritual restoration - as Christ Himself most certainly does for us! (1 John 1:6-10) Don’t shoot the wounded!
Thought: We will ALL get wounded - IF we are actually in the Spiritual Battle!