If it all goes away tomorrow, all the wealth, the power, the accolades, the promotions, and all the respect from your family and friends, what would you do? How would you feel? What would you be willing to do to make sure those perks continue in your life? It’s something worth considering. So-called benign ridicule of people with faith is inching toward outright persecution by the state against those who do not agree with abortion, for example.
My heart aches as I see the tenets of my faith reduced to terms of fundamentalism and fanaticism. Radio broadcasters openly call born-again Christians evil and narrow-minded. Prime-time comedies mock church services. People of faith are open targets for ridicule by stand-up comics. At best, procedural crime dramas portray Christians as hapless hypocrites and at worst, as child-abusing degenerates. I have a feeling that this is only the beginning.
In many nations, our brothers and sisters die for their faith. Although North American Christians do not suffer anywhere near the same degree of persecution, we are facing increased persecution by being labeled and libeled in higher education institutions and the workplace. Christians who refuse to work overtime on Sundays are being denied promotions. Non-Christian family members feel they have the right to criticise their siblings for raising narrow-minded children openly. Mention sin and you are considered intolerant, judgmental and evil. Those who do not bow to the gods of relative truth and situational ethics are judged harshly.
Mark 13:11 – “And when they bring you to trial and deliver you over, do not be anxious beforehand what you are to say, but say whatever is given you in that hour, for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit.”
When this benign persecution steps up another notch or two, it will be imperative that we die to the fear of man in our lives. If our self-worth is not found in our relationship with God, we will find it impossible to stand for our faith. Pray that you will be courageous and speak out for your Saviour in the face of increasing ridicule and isolation. By God’s grace, we can, and through our knowledge of His love, we will. And when we do stand, our heart attitudes and motivations will be exposed, so now is the time to work on those areas of our hearts that would try to defend ourselves or fight back in like kind.
I Peter 3:13-17 – “Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil.”
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Until Next Week
©2018 Katherine Walden
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