Being Misunderstood

John 15:18-21 NASB If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also. But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know the One who sent Me.

One of the most frustrating things to go through is being misunderstood by other people. There is no doubt in my mind that all of us, at one point or another, have experienced looking into the eyes of some other person and come to realize that they do not see us the way we see ourselves.

How we respond to being misunderstood will make all the difference in the world. Our response will be the difference between spending too much time trying to correct every other person’s misperception of us or freeing ourselves to go on with our lives no matter what others think about us.

I think about moments when I watch children play- they are playing with Legos and one child accidently breaks a piece that was already put together, then you hear “You did that on purpose!” Have you ever offered to help someone and then be accused of being judgmental? What about when you were kind to someone only to have them accuse you of an ulterior motive? Usually we respond with “That is not what I meant!”. If this is the case, then we understand what it is like to be misunderstood.

If we were to “keep score” of who is misunderstood the most, it isn’t even close when we compare ourselves to Jesus. Jesus, the son of God, is without a doubt, the most misunderstood man ever to walk this earth. I am not sure that I will be able to put down everything that is misunderstood regarding Jesus so this list is not an exhaustive list.

Matthew 1:19 And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man and not wanting to disgrace her, planned to send her away secretly.

The birth of Jesus has been misunderstood by the masses. Whether it is those who deny the virgin birth of Jesus, they in turn ridicule Mary. Some go so far to say that she was a prostitute! Even Joseph misunderstood the birth of Jesus. Others misunderstand the birth of Jesus through the worship and celebration of His birth when there is no biblical example of such taking place by Christians in the first century.

Mark 3:20-22 And He came home, and the crowd gathered again, to such an extent that they could not even eat a meal. When His own people heard of this, they went out to take custody of Him; for they were saying, ‘He has lost His senses.’ The scribes who came down from Jerusalem were saying, ‘He is possessed by Beelzebul’, and ‘He casts out the demons by the ruler of the demons.’

Acts 1:6 So when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, ‘Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?’

The power, ministry, and kingdom of Jesus was misunderstood. Just as they were misunderstood in the first century, they are still grossly misunderstood today. Many believe erroneously that Jesus will shield them from the consequences of their sins. That as long as they are “in the church”, then they do not have any reason to be faithful to God or obey the truth. Just as the scribes misunderstood the source and power of Jesus, many today have done the same. The faith that many profess today have Jesus under the power of Beelzubul and not of God. Many today are also looking for a physical restoration of the nation of Israel and yet that was never promised to anyone. A complete misunderstanding of prophecy and the kingdom of Christ has caused many to believe in a lie.

Matthew 7:21-23 Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord”, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?” And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’

The commands of Jesus were and still are misunderstood. People have this idea that as long as they are a “good person” then that is enough to satisfy God. In fact, that line of thinking goes against what they also say regarding salvation. Many claim that there is “nothing we can do to be saved” and yet, they will turn around and preach people into heaven because they did “just enough” to “satisfy” God.

How should we handle being misunderstood? Having an understanding that there are things outside our control will help but also remembering what it feels like, so we won’t purposefully do it to others. Don’t let this misunderstanding take over your life. Guard yourselves and pray for those who do misunderstand you. The best thing we can do is to be like Jesus.

1 Peter 2:21,23 For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously.

-Lee Elkins