PERSECUTION . . . Wearing and wearying

This is my command: Love each other. If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember the words I spoke to you: “No servant is greater than his master.” If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also.” (Reference: John 15:17-20 )

So that you may remain oriented, today is March 10th. Yesterday was March 9th. And I am lost between the timing of the daily “Sip of Scripture” and Reading the Anabaptist Bible . But I am also reminded that we are to live according to God and God’s time, and not according to humanity’s time. God created the world, and our translation of what was first written down by the writer of Genesis divides that into days, and we have defined days as 24 hour units. So I will set aside the matter of mismatched days and postings.

Jesus said “This is my command” and it was a command to love one another. To not hate one another as the world hates, but to love. If our only goal was to belong to the world that is filled hate and persecution, we would act the way the world wants us to act. But as true Christians (as opposed to people who espouse Christianity but hate anyway) we do not act as the world wants us to act, but at God wants us to act. How God wants us to act is sadly open for debate, and debated it is. And this is the source of some of the cruelest persecution ever devised. And I sigh beloved, because from what God and Christ commanded humanity has taken and twisted for its own agenda.

Yes beloved, this constant focus on persecution has worn me down to my nerves and bare bones. What is travail for one may be a small thing for another. But each of us bears up under what life and the world bring. Whether the burdens are small or large, we have respite in our Lord. We can say it is too much, and we can bear no more. It would be easier, we say, to give up and let the world have its way. And therefore think that we can escape. Without the protection and comfort of our Lord, however, our troubles can double and triple.

But I am being melancholy, and more than a touch dramatic. The historic Anabaptists may have waxed poetical about how they “suffered” for their faith, but their suffering was real. And there have been those since who have suffered bodily for their faith – and some still do. The amount one suffers for their faith depends a great deal on where you are in world. I would not want to lessen the struggle and challenges Christians in other parts of the world face simply because where I live there is ample freedom of faith practices.

But neither do I believe that those who suffer for their faith would set aside their faith if they knew the suffering would cease. They know of the truth that Christ spoke.

As always beloved, it is my hope that the world does not make you suffer for you belief in God. And if suffering is your journey, may God be with you every step of the way. Selah!