When mocked and insulted because you believe in Jesus, remember 3 things:
- Your faith is substantial enough for somebody to feel threatened or offended by it, and though I’m sure they would never admit the former, I have very strong evidence this is the case more often than not. Christianity challenges people to live beyond their selfishness, put others first, live for something bigger than themselves, and to have faith in something they cannot “see.”
I say “see” because the worldly definition of it limits the sight of God to a face or person or visible presence of some sort. However, many of us see God in so many things around us: a beautiful sunset, nature in general, the face of a chid, in the love of another person, in miraculous situations that cannot be explained logically, in the everyday “coincidences” that lead to something so much greater. We see Him working all the time.
But our belief goes beyond sight – it moves through all the other senses. We can feel His love, feel His healing, feel His forgiveness as weighty regrets are lifted off of our shoulders. We can feel the freedom that comes with accepting help and accepting the fact that we are not in control. We feel the empowerment of the Holy Spirit when we are helped through overwhelming situations. We feel His peace as He teaches us to have faith in His provisions for all of our needs. We can hear His voice (true story, we just have to train ourselves to listen). We can taste the victory of eternity – that is what we are fighting towards, and we want as many people to join us as possible.
- We have a great opportunity to be like Jesus and to be lead by the Holy Spirit. I’ve always struggled with the “turn the other cheek” verse, never knowing where the line is between grace and becoming a door mat. Unfortunately there is no formula, but that is where the Holy Spirit comes in to guide you down the right path. And we see both sides of this with Jesus – on the cross He begs mercy for the men mocking Him and gambling over His clothing, while in the church-market, He flipped tables in holy and righteous anger.
When tempted to fight back against a nasty post about my faith and my mission today (I had an absolutely superb come-back, by the way, which made it all the more tempting), I waited, prayed, and realized that I was saying it all out of anger – it would not do any good for that person’s faith (or lack of it) for me to make a catty remark back. Instead, I realized it was a “turn the cheek” moment and didn’t say a word. Though it was difficult, that was not a moment that God could have used for His glory, it was only for mine. Eventually, I was thankful for this nudge after a period of cooling down and a very insightful talk with my mom.
But this whole concept goes beyond attacks on our faith, it applies to attacks in any aspect of life. My mom has been disrespected at her job lately in unacceptable ways, via e-mail – one of the most cowardly ways to bully. One man used the phrase “this isn’t baking cookies.” Sexist, belittling, and offensive. Well played, sir. But my mom let the Spirit lead her, and after a few hours of prayer and cooling down, she took the Romans 12:20 route of heaping burning coals on his head by showing him grace and kindness and patience. God sees what she did, and the man will probably realize how rude he is being when he realizes how incredibly nice she is being. A beacon of light that cannot be quashed.
I also love to hear the stories of my fiancé boldly defending his faith to those that challenge him. He is the type of guy that likes a debate, and he can debate without getting heated. I truly believe it is a gift, because when he is challenged, he can debate in such a way that doesn’t turn people more off to the thought of Jesus, but actually begins the eye-opening process. The movie God’s Not Dead reminded me of him, I just knew that he would love being in the main character’s shoes.
It’s all about what the Spirit is calling you to do in that moment, no matter what our pride or emotions are telling us. If God tells you to stand your ground, do it and let God speak through you. If He tells you to turn the other cheek, then either the person is not ready to receive the truth or the situation is too emotionally charged and you cannot give the truth in a non-negative way. Or, like me, you’re about to speak out in anger that will not lead to any glory for God.
- We are molded by trials. God can and will use everything for His glory.
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.” (James 1:2-8)
“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” (Romans 5:1-5)
Here are some Bible quotes that I have found extremely encouraging over the last few days:
“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.”
(1 Peter 4:12-19)
“Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. For it is time for judgment to begin with God’s household; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And,
‘If it is hard for the righteous to be saved,
what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?’
So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.”
(1 Corinthians 3:18-2o)
“Stop deceiving yourselves. If you think you are wise by this world’s standards, you need to become a fool to be truly wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness to God. As the Scriptures say,
‘He traps the wise
in the snare of their own cleverness.’
‘The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise;
he knows they are worthless.'”