November 16 – Hebrews 10:32-34. Me? Suffer?

Friday, November 18, 2011

November 16 – Hebrews 10:32-34.  Me? Suffer?

Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you endured in a great conflict full of suffering. Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated. You suffered along with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions.

When I first became a Christian, it seemed as if everyone around me was also a Christian.  I’m pretty sure that I was blind to the fact that many of my friends weren’t.  In fact, I know that I missed a lot of that.  However, the world was pretty tolerant of all us crazy people carrying our Bibles and being ready at a moment’s notice to tell people how we met Jesus and how He was changing our life.

There wasn’t a great deal of insult and persecution. In fact, people seemed to be a lot more polite in those days about nearly everything.  They didn’t feel as if they had the right to step into another person’s life and inform them of all the things they were doing wrong.

Then came the day when I told my husband that I no longer felt as if I was accepted as a Christian because I didn’t have the same political beliefs as those who stood up and proclaimed their faith loudly to gain support from others of faith.  I didn’t agree with them and in essence, I was told that my faith didn’t count for much.

I was persecuted by those who proclaimed their Christianity loudly and with much banging of Bibles against podiums.

We claim persecution comes from all around us – it’s especially growing in the media and on television shows.  No longer is the bad guy a cult member or a mentally unstable psychopath – no we find that He (or she) bases his terrible behavior on Christian beliefs. Christians are ridiculed on sitcoms as well.

In the first century, Christians faced persecution because they believed in Jesus Christ and that went against everything the Roman government stood for.  Today … I’m afraid we have brought a great deal of this persecution on ourselves. As Christians, we are more apt to throw the first stone and publicly denounce sins of everyone around us; we call ourselves Christians on Sunday and act like demons in our workplace, at the ballparks, with our neighbors, in our children’s lives (school, ballgames, activities, etc.,).  There’s a whole lot of moralistic righteousness and not a lot of Jesus’ love in us.  We don’t suffer much because we just plain won’t allow that kind of behavior.