Shorty (Mark 6:1-3)

When I was 8 years old, I played baseball in a neighborhood league. The coach was the father of one of my teammates. To assist him was his younger cousin, also an adult, known by his nickname, Shorty. While everyone, including the coach’s son, called him by that name, I always addressed him as Mr. Smith. At my young age, I could not bring myself to address an adult by their first name. 

On one unfortunate gameday, Shorty called for a play which ended in disaster and eventually led to our loss. It was a mistake and Shorty was understandably dejected. Although he, nor the coach said anything, some of my teammates cruelly began teasing him. “Shorty screwed up!” Without warning, Shorty turned on the entire team. 

“Shut up! If you guys think it’s so easy, then you should coach and you better win all of your games!”  His face was red as he pointed at all of us. “And from now on, you call me Mr. Smith!”

I was too young to process the raw emotions that were on display. He resented being treated like another player, like a child. He needed to reassert his authority, and no one defended him. It was a humiliating experience that still reminds me of the insensitivity of others. Familiarity breeds contempt. 

Jesus left that part of the country and returned with his disciples to Nazareth, his hometown. The next Sabbath he began teaching in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed. They asked, “Where did he get all this wisdom and the power to perform such miracles?” Then they scoffed, “He’s just a carpenter, the son of Mary and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas, and Simon. And his sisters live right here among us.” They were deeply offended and refused to believe in him. 

Mark 6:1-3 (NLT)

Even our Lord Jesus Christ encountered disrespect even after He taught with authority and performed miracles in His hometown. The people who grew up with Him and were most familiar with Him and His family, denigrated Him. 

Another egregious example is when I hear God’s holy name taken in vain. It is a disturbing testimony by anyone doing this, casually using God’s name to make a point or to curse. All Christian believers should be deeply offended when the holy name of God is misused and maligned in conversation. We should defend God, not because He has feelings that could be hurt, but because He is our Lord and Savior. When we care deeply about someone, we should rise to the occasion and defend their honor whenever possible. It is the right thing to do and to ignore this is a sin.

Love and trust in the Lord; seek His will in your life.

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