I am quite sure that all of us at some point in our lives have been in a no-win type of situation. Even Jesus experienced it. John the Baptist came as an ascetic, eating no bread and being a teetotaler and the people thought he had a demon. Then, when Jesus came on the scene doing just the opposite, eating and drinking and having a grand old time, the people accused him of being a drunkard and a glutton. When it came to the religious authorities of the day, Jesus was like the Rodney Dangerfield of the ancient world – he never got any respect from them.
I’m actually a bit relieved that Jesus went through that kind of scenario. Sometimes it just seems that, with some people, I can never quite do anything right – they grump and complain no matter what I do or say. Wise King Solomon was familiar with such people; he called them fools. “Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you will be like him yourself.” Then, in the very next proverb it says, “Answer a fool according to his folly, or he will be wise in his own eyes” (Proverbs 26:4-5). So, which is it? How do I handle a fool? The answer is: you don’t. A fool is going to be a fool no matter what you do or say. Handling them is a no-win situation.
So, what do we do with such people? Jesus just went about his mission despite what the foolish generation was saying about him. And we must do the same. Some people are going to talk, gossip, and label you something you aren’t. We don’t take our cues from fools. We find our security in Jesus, live and love just like him, and let the critics blow out their blowholes into the air.
Wise Jesus, you handled people as well as anyone could, yet, they still criticized you. Help me to live and speak wisely so that when people talk it isn’t because of my foolishness but because of my love. Amen.