Christ-followers are going to face opposition as we go into the future. The Christian faith is often under attack and often the western powers make accommodations for many religious groups but increasingly marginalize Christianity. Christ-followers are called to be peacemakers in a very violent world and expect opposition. So what do we do to deal with this mood?
- Don’t be surprised at opposition to being a person of faith or an ambassador of peace.
“Dear friends, don’t be surprised or shocked when you go through painful trials that are like walking through fire, as though something unusual is happening to you.” 1 Peter 4:12
- Don’t be afraid of having opposition or personal attack
“If you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it, so don’t be afraid and don’t worry! Instead, worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if you are asked about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it.” 1 Peter 3:14-15
- Don’t be ashamed or embarrassed about being a person of faith Jesus changes hearts and that’s what needs to happen.
“It is no shame to suffer for being a Christian. Instead, thank God for the privilege of being called by his name!” 1 Peter 4:16
- Understand your opposition – understand why people are marginalizing people of faith and be an example of love and peace in a world of skepticism and doubt.
“We’re not fighting against human beings, but against wicked spiritual forces in the heavenly realm . . .” Ephesians 6:12
“Stay away from stupid and senseless arguments. These only lead to trouble. God’s servants must never quarrel. (Instead) be kind to everyone . . . and be patient. Be humble when you correct people who oppose you . . . they’ve been trapped by the devil, and he makes them obey him, but God may help them escape.” 2 Timothy 2:23-26
- Don’t retaliate and become hateful and bitter.
“Never pay back evil with more evil . . . If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. And never avenge yourself. Leave that to God, who has said, ‘I’ll be the judge and I’ll take care of it.’” Romans 12:17-19
- Respond to people with the Good News and a blessing. Actually give a blessing to those who would attack you.
“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:21
Jesus said, “Love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn the other cheek.” Luke 6:27b-29a
Sometimes it doesn’t make sense to the Western mind to actually follow where Jesus is leading us but it changes the world and changes you. Expect the opposition but act – don’t react to it.