How did Jesus respond to abuse? It seems He responded with an honest statement of the truth, often in the form of a question.
Take the betrayal of Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane. He asks Judas, ‘Do you betray the Son of Man with a kiss?’ No accusation was needed, no anger, rather He confronted his betrayer with truth.
Take the incident of the slap. John 18:22-23 ‘When Jesus said this, one of the officials near-by struck him in the face. “Is this the way you answer the high priest?” He demanded. “If I said something wrong,” Jesus replied, “testify as to what is wrong. But if I spoke the truth, why did you strike me.” Jesus does not justify himself; nor does He accuse his assailant, rather He confronts with truth through a question.
A spiritual leader is behaving badly and I am unsure how to deal with it. I was all for charging in on a white horse named Truth and Righteousness. Then I read in Psalm 45, alluding to Jesus, that he comes ‘on behalf of truth, humility and righteousness.’ (45:4) The attitude I was missing was humility. It is so easy to exchange righteousness for self-righteousness. The problem with self-righteousness is that it wants to stand over the other in order to force its own will. There is nothing of this in Jesus’ responses. He seems more interested in helping the other person to understand himself and develop as a person towards righteousness, and so He exposes the truth behind the situation, while permitting the abuse to continue. What amazing love.