When they hand you over, do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say. You will be given at that moment what you are to say. For it will not be you who speak but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. Matthew 10:19–20
This is an easy lesson to understand but very hard to live. This teaching of Jesus comes within the context of Him telling His Apostles that as they go forth to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom, they will be handed over to courts, scourged in synagogues, and led before governors and kings. They will be persecuted in one town after another for sharing the Gospel. Though such a “pep-talk” may not at first seem that encouraging, the Gospel passage quoted above should provide much encouragement. Encouragement, that is, if they can follow Jesus’ advice in faith.
When we are condemned, judged, misunderstood and the like, it is very common to begin mounting our defense within our minds right away. We justify our actions, set up a tribunal in our minds by which we act as judge and jury of the other, finding them guilty and issuing them punishments. The sin traditionally referred to as “self-love” is a sin that stems from pride and is not love at all. It tempts us to defend ourselves, using our own human wisdom and counsel.
If we carefully consider Jesus’ teaching above, most people will realize that it is a very hard teaching to embrace. Essentially, when you are condemned or mistreated by another, remain silent in your heart. Do not immediately dwell on the wound they have inflicted. Do not become obsessed with the apparent injustice. Do not worry or become filled with anxiety at the perceived persecution. Instead, turn your eyes to Jesus, consider only His Voice and His Truth. And instead of looking at the wound that was inflicted upon you, look at the person inflicting it. And look at them with love. They are not the enemy, they are the battleground for Truth, and it is your mission to help them hear God’s truth. So how do you do that? Jesus’ answer is straightforward. “You will be given at that moment what you are to say.” Furthermore, Jesus makes it clear that it must be the “Spirit of your Father” who is to speak through you in such a case.
Living such a teaching especially requires two things: humility and trust. Humility will allow the temptation to self-love (pride) to be set aside. This is essential if you are to hear the Voice of God speaking to you and, ultimately, allow Him to speak through you. Second, it is essential that you trust that what Jesus says is true. You must trust that, if you are humble and open to His Voice, that He will give you His words when He wants them spoken. This is difficult because we often want to say far more than God chooses to say. God often calls us to silence in the face of injustice. A silence that is also imbued with love for the persecutor. This requires much trust in the grace of God, which results in an abundance of charity on your part.
Reflect, today, upon this teaching of our Lord. Consider how you react when someone condemns or judges you. How do you respond to such persecutions? Begin with silence, turn your eyes to the other out of love for them, and then listen and wait on the Lord. Wait until He gives you the words to say. Doing so is not only good for the persecutor, it is also exceptionally good for your own soul and holiness of life.
My patient Lord, You, Who are the Savior of the World and the God of all, allowed Yourself to be falsely accused, judged and condemned. During it all, You remained silent and spoke only when the Father spoke through You. Help me to be freed of all pride, dear Lord, so that I will speak only Your holy words, think only the thoughts inspired by You and act only on Your holy command of love. Jesus, I trust in You.
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