One of the hardest and more liberating things we can do is to not get caught up in mud-slinging with people who disagree with us. It can be hard to hear things about that aren’t true, or or simply exaggerated. In ministry, I learned a long time ago to never take criticism about the ministry personally. This is more difficult than it sounds because I pour my life into my ministry.
No matter what you do in life, you have likely experienced some accusations of some sort. Living in a world with people means that we will experience conflict and criticism. Some of them are true and some aren’t. We learn in grade school that responding to people with the same mean attitude only makes matters worse. There is a phrase that we use to describe these situations – “Take the high road.”
Take the high road? What is that all about? I know we understand that it means we don’t “sink to their level.” But even that can be confusing. We also remember Jesus Christ, perfect in every way, yet mocked and rejected by men. We look to Him as an example. Still it leaves me to wonder where “take the high road” came from.
There was a show on the Smithsonian Channel months back that talked about the different garbage systems in various cities around the world. We take sanitation for granted, but that was not always the case. In ancient Paris they used sewers systems that transported waster water on the streets in the open air. People would push all their garbage into these systems, which was the low ground. As you can imagine, it was a gross scene. When people said they were going to take the high road, it meant they were going to walk on ground that was not covered in sewage. Who wants to walk in sewage?
I know I don’t have all the details of it, as I am no historian. However, it is an interesting picture for all of us. When we take the high road we avoid the filth. When people are mean to other people it can be hard not to join in. As followers of Jesus Christ, we are to ‘take the high road.’ This is not about being taken advantage of, but it is about showing people that love is far more important than being right all the time.
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” – John 13:34-35