[Jesus said,] â€œGod blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers.â€Â Â Â Â Matthew 5:11 (NLT)
Here I am out on a limb today. Yesterday, I tried to be very clear that here in the United States, persecution does not exist. Today, I want to attempt to discuss what does exist for the Christian in our country and what does Jesus, by His example, tell us to do about it.
The Bible is clear that there is a war that continues to be waged in the spiritual realm (2 Corinthians 10). We live in a fallen world. We live in a world that does not look at situations and people with Godâ€™s eyes. It is eschewed, warped. And so the media has flooded the airways with information and shows that â€“ lie. Some of the lies that are told (and there really isnâ€™t enough space on my hard drive to list them all!):
â€“ We human beings can not choose to live our lives celibate until marriage. We just canâ€™t stop ourselves.
â€“ Getting drunk is funny and cool. Alcohol and marijuana arenâ€™t really dangerous.
â€“ Parents are stupid and not worth a listen. Family and accountable friends are a drag on fun.
â€“ Everybody lies so what is the big deal?
â€“ Marriage is disposable. Living together is the same as marriage. Children will be â€œOKâ€ with their mother and father changing partners every couple of years (or months).
Living my life in direct conflict with these lies will encourage those who believe the lies to respond with ridicule (mock) and more lies that pronounce that I am in some way evil in my stupidity and delusions. It is so important that I hear the truth about these people. And that is: I do not fight flesh and blood. And I fight, not with harsh words or eloquent debate, but instead with the example of Jesus Christ. It is so important that I take capture my thoughts and make them obedient to Jesus (2 Corinthians 10:5). It is so important that I follow Jesus in washing feet and feeding those who are hungry with whatever fish and bread that I have. It is so important that I be willing to touch those who are seen as unclean with the power of Jesusâ€™ love.
Before I reach for the speck of sawdust in the eyes of a homosexual or an addict, let me open my own heart to the Holy Spiritâ€™s surgical hand to removal that plank of criticism and condemnation. May Godâ€™s Spirit determine if I am humble and obedient or just a â€œwhite-washed tombâ€.
In this world, I will be tripped and punched with hurtful words and rejection. Jesus said He came to heal my heart sickness and wounds. It is in our fellowship of Believers that we should find a place of healing and encouragement. It is there that we should find Godâ€™s divine care.
St. Francis of Assisi must have spent a lot of time with Jesus. I say this because he could not have offered this prayer in spite of the persecution and mocking in his life unless he was so filled with Jesus that he â€˜leakedâ€™ this prayer:
- Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
- Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
- Where there is injury, pardon.
- Where there is doubt, faith.
- Where there is despair, hope.
- Where there is darkness, light.
- Where there is sadness, joy.
- O Divine Master,
- grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
- to be understood, as to understand;
- to be loved, as to love.
- For it is in giving that we receive.
- It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
- and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life. Amen. (my emphasis)