Choose Your Battles Wisely

“Choose your battles wisely. After all, life isn’t measured by how many times you stood up to fight. It’s not winning battles that makes you happy, but it’s how many times you turned away and chose to look into a better direction. Life is too short to spend it on warring. Fight only the most, most, most important ones, let the rest go.” ― C. JoyBell C.

The other day, my son and I were driving in the car and he asked me what a martyr was?  He had heard the word used in several rap/hip hop songs and was curious as to the meaning.  Now first let me say that my son is very advance in his vocabulary.  He is an avid reader and has a greater knowledge of vocabulary words than I do.  I have on many occasions gone to him and asked him what a word means.  So I was a little surprised when he didn’t know the meaning of this word but at the same time, I was delighted to use this as a teaching opportunity.

I explained to my son that a martyr believes in a cause, is willing to go to war, to fight a battle and says, “I will die for my cause.”  Example:  Joan of Arc declared herself as a martyr, fault many battles to further her cause, and was willing to die for the cause.  A martyr believes that justice is needed and they will fight and die to see justice prevail.

I have a book that I’ve been reading off and on called, Reading Judas, by authors, Elaine Pagels and Karen L. King.  One of the interesting talking points of this book speaks about the martyrs’ that arose after the death of Jesus.  One theory is that those who witnessed the crucifixion began feeling guilty; as if they should have done more to stop the senseless killing of their friend and teacher and felt they needed to become martyrs to show their devotion to Jesus; while on the other hand, the new followers may have misunderstood the crucifixion and began sacrificing themselves as martyrs to further their cause for Christianity, or “to be like Jesus.”

Some people believe Jesus was a martyr.  I agree that Jesus did not run away from his belief.  And he surely did not avoid antagonism.  But…he also did not enter the cities with swords and armor.  Jesus went where he was welcome.  When Jesus came upon a city or villagers who opposed his message, he led his followers elsewhere.  Whether Jesus had foreseen his crucifixion as a prophecy is a mystery to me.  But one thing I’m almost certain about, Jesus did not go into the city as a martyr with a revolution trying to defend his philosophies or create a new religion.  Jesus had no intention on leading his followers into battle to fight for a cause when they entered into the city of Jerusalem for Passover.  Jesus was going into the city to celebrate his heritage and traditions, as he more than likely had done many times before in honor of peace, love, brotherhood and most of all, God.

In his final hours, Jesus instructed his followers to not fight on his behalf.  At that point, he is saying to his followers, there is no need for you to fight or die for my sake.  With every strike, Jesus does not resist or strike back.  This still amazes me today.  Can you imagine someone hitting you repeatedly?  Can you imagine not defending yourself or fighting back?  Jesus does exactly that.  He surrenders and allows this experience to occur, not out of fear, not as a martyr but to instill his message.  He carries out his final lesson to his followers, peacefully showing non-resistance.  And the ultimate message; he bestows forgiveness.  That to me is not a martyr.  That to me is the opposite of a martyr.

What do you think?  Was Jesus a martyr or not?Image

Mary, The Unexpected Mother

The Madonna in Sorrow

The Madonna in Sorrow (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I often think about Mary, mother of Jesus, and how she might have felt when she learned of her pregnancy. It was a little different back then. In modern times, we have a blood test or a pregnancy kit to help us decide the fate of our future. Mary had an angel. However, even with that, hearing it and knowing it are two very different things.

When God chose Mary, she was a single woman. I find this to be interesting. Why did God choose an unmarried woman? Some may say that God needed a virgin. Well, if this is true, God could have chosen any virgin bride to conceive the prince of peace, right? Nothing is impossible for God. He is the great creator. If God needed Mary specifically, why not wait until Mary’s wedding night? Mary was already promised to Joseph. So I still ask myself, why God chose Mary, an unmarried virgin.

Did you know that Mary is considered to be one of the most righteous women in the Islamic tradition? And she is mentioned more in the Quran than in the New Testament? This historical fact is also very interesting to me. She must have been an amazing woman. God thought so; Joseph thought so, and her family must have thought so. Furthermore, I believe that Jesus thought so. And when the writers were keeping their records for the Bible and the Quran, they apparently thought so as well.

I have come to the conclusion that Mary must have been very special. I sometimes wonder what it was about her that God loved so much. What did Mary possess within her that the other virgins or women did not? Of all the women in the world at that time, God chose Mary to be the mother of Jesus. What made Mary different? She must have had some unique inner quality that God saw, right? Maybe it was her faith or maybe it was her inner strength? God knew the task He was placing on Mary was going to be one of her most important and challenging roles as a human being and as a mother. God knew that Mary would be faced with opposition and disbelieving antagonists. Can you even imagine?

I wonder how I would react if God sent an angel to descend upon me. How would I feel knowing I was carrying a child that would be known as the Son of God? How do you parent this child? How do you explain to your child his conception? How do you prepare this child for what is ahead or expected? How do you encourage him to make a new path, to see a new vision, to listen to a higher voice and to teach a new lesson? And upon doing that, your child leaves home to become the master teacher, sharing God’s message, leading by example and you breathe a sigh of relief only to witness your child’s fate, his prosecution and his sacrifice.

Yes, Mary had a great task placed upon her. But God must have known she was up for the challenge.

As mothers, we have all been given a gift. No, they may not have been conceived through an immaculate conception but they are still one of God’s creations, a gift of the most high, a spiritual being with unlimited possibilities. As mother’s we have been called to grow and nurture mystical souls that came through us or came to us.

Don’t be afraid of what lies ahead of you. Be strong and courageous but most of all, be faithful. Know that God has a purpose for you and your child. Whether you’re a married mother, single mother, birth mother, adoptive mother, step mother, foster mother or a widowed mother, God chose you, of all the women in the world, to be the mother of one of His tender souls. You must be very special!

Happy Mother’s Day!