This week on GIGW we are digging into the suffering Paul went thru. Today we are reading 2 TImothy 3:12.
In America, there is persecution in the headlines, bakers standing up for their convictions of not baking for certain couples. Huge companies going to court because they do not want to be involved in paying health insurance that pays for abortions. We see it in the news. People lose their jobs.
But what about right here in rural Ohio? We have to have health coverage, perhaps the style of coverage we may not prefer… but is that persecution? Each of us signing that we have coverage or paying a fine? There have been and still are threats against homeschooling. Papers to fill out if we want to send our kids to private school. Persecution? Maybe, maybe not?
On a personal level. . . We are fighting Satan every single day. There are things, (if you haven’t experienced it yet, it will come) that you believe God wants you to do; as you go about to follow God’s leading you will feel percussion. Someone will look down on you, make comments, try to call you out, go up against you, discourage you… Persecute you. In 2nd Corinthians Paul wrote a big list of things that had happened to him because he was following Christ. One thing He listed was, ‘I have been in perils among false brethren.’ In other words, Paul says I have been in danger from people who say they belong to Christ, but really do not.
Do people look down on you for following what God has told you to do? Has anyone ever questioned you? Has anyone disapproved of what you felt led to do? Maybe even in your own family, circle of friends, or your workplace? Maybe from your very own church? Perhaps you’ve reached out to someone, been involved in a ministry at the local prison, school, or hospital. Maybe you’ve gotten an eye roll, disapproving word, a disagreeing conversation. Perhaps you’ve received a phone call, letter, or heard rumors spread about you.
Perhaps, those we are closest to, hand out the most persecution to us.
Sorry to say, maybe sometimes, WE are the ones to hand it out. I know I’ve been guilty.
This is a big eye opener for me, to ask myself, ‘Am I looking down on someone else? Am I trying to be the Holy Spirit in someone else’s life? Am I, perhaps even, in the name of JESUS persecuting someone?’
Telling them they maybe shouldn’t be involved in something because the Holy Spirit has told me to do things a little different than He has told them? Homeschool when someone else chooses public. Private school when someone else chooses public. Changing churches when I want them to stay. Calling to tell someone they need to stop doing something just because I don’t have control over what they are doing? Telling someone to stay off facebook when God has people online He wants them to reach? Telling someone to stay away from their kids games because I don’t feel like I should go? Thinking that someone should stay and try to fix their marriage, right now, no matter what, and there is abuse happening. Thinking maybe people should stay away from someone that is just a little different than the little circles we’ve made.
Maybe I HAVE been the ONE to give an eye roll, disapproving word, disagreeing conversation, or spread the gossip… ouch
That is persecution.
Dear Sister, we don’t know what anyone else’s standing with God is. We need to trust that the Holy Spirit will lead them. Though none of us can understand the Spirit’s calling in another person’s life…We must, must, must, show love. We must be sure we are not in-knowingly persecuting them. Let’s love. And love and love again. Not persecute. love. And when we experience persecution from others we must love and love even more.