The Benefits of Persecution

I have never wanted to be persecuted. I know in the New Testament as well as during the first three centuries within the Roman Empire, people felt they were filling their calling when they were persecuted and martyred. There was self-flagellation in the Catholic Church (and perhaps still).

The thought of physical punishment for my belief in Christ is not something I would approach with any fondness. I do think I’m willing, should the Lord require it of me, and I pray He would give me grace to endure my calling.

No, I suffer another kind of persecution. Being disliked. Personal problems with other people. It’s something that has plagued me my whole life. It might not be a problem limited to me. So, I found a little paragraph that gives me a lot of encouragement:

‘The especial advantage I gained from the disapproval I met with was that it took a great deal of the conceit out of me. I had it so rubbed into me that I was altogether wrong and foolish, and was only tolerated because of the kindness of my friends, that I really came at last to have a sort of instinctive feeling that I deserved nothing but snubs and reproaches, and that any unkindness that might be shown me was only my just desert. In fact, I got into the habit of never expecting anything else, and ceased to think i had any rights that others ought not ot trample on. This habit of mind has given me the greatest liberty of spirit through all my life since, as I have never been obliged, as so many people seem to be, to stand up  for my rights, and have in fact scarcely ever had the sense to see when I have been slighted. If one has no rights, their rights cannot be trampled on, and if one has no feelings, their feelings cannot be hurt.’

I think much of the hurt I’ve felt is letting the criticism of others hurt me. The fact is that a criticism is either true or false. If a criticism is true, I can either do something about it, or I can’t. But caring so much about what others think has shattered me over the years, and turned me into this person who is afraid of other people. God doesn’t want that.

If I live an authentic life, hurts will come my way. If I focus on doing what the Lord wants me to do, then he can absorb and carry the hurts. If I get hurt doing God’s will, he knows for that and he knows I’m strong enough  to handle it. So, I just need to trust in Him. That’s all I have to do.

The Unselfishness of God and How I Discovered It – Hannah Whitehall Smith

The Benefits of Persecution

Why Do We Hate Jesus?

I am finishing up a book written by a lady in the late 1800’s. She talks about how excited she was to share Christ when she became a Christian. She practically stood on corners preaching the good news, and people responded positively!

If I were to stand on a corner to preach Jesus, I would be ignored, ridiculed, maybe arrested. In fact, I remember people on the corners at metro stops in Washington, DC doing it and thought they were ridiculous. Me, a believer, mentally ridiculing another believer.

When I was introduced to the internet, I had the opportunity to share my faith with others. What ended up happening was that I was schooled by some pretty well-studied atheists as to all of the ‘fallacies’ of Christianity. I did not convert anybody, but I was introduced to the field of apologetics, and some great authors. I became a somewhat well-rounded Christian. God used that period to school me on the basics.

I worked in a liberal college, and I was open about my faith, and I wonder if that was wise in retrospect. We live in a culture where you keep politics and religion out of the workplace. I can’t say that’s a good or a bad thing. But sharing your faith, or proselytizing in the workplace seems inappropriate in today’s climate.

I guess my question is, what happened? The news of Jesus’ sacrifice and resurrection is the best news in the history of the world. Why aren’t we more excited about it? That is to say,  why aren’t we Christians more excited about it?

I have some theories that I can  spell out in another post, but my post today is for you, yourself to ask yourself, ‘where is my excitement?’ Ask yourself, ask God.  I believe what Jesus did should excite all of us. What’s wrong?

Why Do We Hate Jesus?

Learning to Parent

When I was a young mother, I had a lot of depression which was treated, but as time went on, my symptoms increased, I was misdiagnosed, and when I was diagnosed, my condition didn’t improve.

So, I have 3 children who had a sick mom for most of their lives. But I will say, in all fairness, that for many years I was close to them, did things with them, looked after them well.

Naturally I regret that I wasn’t able to do better by them. I have spent a lot of energy the past few years trying to establish some closeness between us, but to no avail.

My youngest son, Joshua lives with me. The divorce occurred when he was entering puberty. He went from child to teen almost overnight. I remember the night he refused to hug me for the first time.

I do realize teens separate from their parents and think they are lame, while inwardly still loving them. But having the history I’ve had with them has given me insecurity and guilt.

I’ve tried many, many things to woo them back to me. Most of those things pushed them away. But I have hit upon something that I didn’t realize before. Whenever I show up for them, they notice. They might not say it or show it, but over time, showing up again and again, chips away at their hard exterior, and opens them up to show me they at least appreciate the things I do.

Granted, most of this is happening with my youngest. The older two don’t offer much opportunity because they live elsewhere, but I’m optimistic that I will be given a chance over time, if I’m patient.

Learning to Parent

Phrases that Lie

Sometimes when I really want something, I believe the enemy gives me an excuse to use in order to do what I’m not supposed to do. I think it happens to most people. Over the years I have collected a few of these excuses. Being aware has helped me to avoid acting on my impulses.

The big one, and I hear this a lot is ‘God wants me to be happy.’ Or ‘God doesn’t want me to be unhappy.’

In truth, I think what is meant by that is ‘I’m unhappy and I can’t take it anymore.’ I’ve been there and by the grace of God I have grown past that. I do have sympathy for people who have difficult situations. But I don’t think it’s ok to contradict God’s will in order to do what clearly is not his will.

I have done this, so I don’t have ill will towards others who do it. But it is sad because I think sticking with God’s will despite bad circumstances creates character. Pulling away from God robs us of a relationship with Him and the love he has to offer us.

The other phrase I’ve heard is ‘God is allowing this.’ This one makes no sense to me because the Bible is 5,000 years of history of how God deals with His people. I haven’t found any exceptions that God allowed to a certain person that goes against His law. It’s really just another really bad excuse.

I’m not perfect, and I have no condemnation for people who are struggling on their path. I’ve struggled as well. I simply try to continue to do better.

Phrases that Lie