“Everything Is Against Me!”

“What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all–how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” (Rom. 8:31-32, NIV).

The Bible warns that “persecution for Christ’s sake” is real–whether it comes in the form of capital punishment, public ridicule, personal rejection, or subtle discrimination. Still, not everything called “persecution” is a deliberate example of such. One has only to scan reader comments below the average online news story to realize how twisted the concept “anyone who isn’t with us is against us” (cf. Mt. 12:30) can get. Civility, ability to see other points of view, even the recognition of others as God-created human beings–all are thrown by the wayside as people scream “bigotry” at every thoughtless comment and “totalitarianism” at every regulation proposal. Christians, sadly, can be as guilty as anyone else–even with fellow believers. Ask any prominent Christian spokesperson (regardless of official creed or personal record) how many people have publicly accused him of promoting universalism, pantheism, even Satanism–and have quoted the Bible to back up their claims. Like the mental patient who attacked a passerby because “he looked like he wanted to hurt me,” those who deem themselves “persecuted” run the risk of becoming persecutors themselves.

Imagined, misinterpreted, or legitimate, most of us know the feeling that someone dislikes us or is out to “get us.” Many go further and, like Elijah in the wilderness, start telling themselves that “nobody likes me” or “everyone‘s out to get me” or even “the whole world was designed to make my life miserable.” Keep that up for long, and the only ways left to go are into utter despair or perpetual suspicion–neither of which bodes well for social or spiritual life.

The first way to head this off is to remind ourselves that whoever is against us, God is for us, and He is stronger than all the forces of earth and hell combined. We needn’t be afraid or even lonely if we look to God and value His approval over anything else.

Second, we need to remember that the Jesus who said, “You will be hated by all nations because of me” (Mt. 24:9) also said, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Mt. 5:44). Many Christians react to opposition as any “pagan” would: a slap for a slap, an insult for an insult, wild accusations thrown into the public forum–often going the original offender one or two better in intensity of attack. This wins no respect and does little for the overall reputation of Christianity.

Finally, “be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes” (Ps. 37:7). Our fleshly nature wants immediate vindication and universal respect; when God doesn’t see that we get it on (our) schedule, we conclude we can’t trust Him and we’d better stand up for ourselves–or else we get bitter and sulk. God will eventually vindicate His loyal followers; He promised that He would. But He wants us to wait for His timing and to listen for what He is trying to do in us through this. Only by trusting Him with our reputations–and remembering that He also loves those whom we dislike–can we become the truly joyful people He plans for us to be.

“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

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2 Comments

  1. Jo Swank

     /  April 19, 2015

    Amen! Wise words as always, Kathy!

    Reply
  2. Jerrie

     /  April 22, 2015

    So much for the pity party! Thanks dear friend.

    Reply

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