Set Phasers to Grin and Bare It
We are not a very forgiving people anymore. We don’t want to get mad. We want to get even. This past week on the news, I saw a video of a teen beating up another. They had lured the young woman by inviting her to a party. When she got arrived they proceeded to beat her up while her friend videotaped the whole thing.
More and more we believe that the world is to revolve around us. And as I was reading about this week’s scripture, I came upon a whole new line of technology. You know how that person talking on a cell phone just really annoys you. Well, now you can buy a little box that will broadcast a jamming signal to effectively cut them off. Who cares if he/she was answering a call from the suicide hotline? At least they aren’t annoying you anymore.
We teach the value of looking out for number one. We use cliché’ like it’s just business. Take what you can and give nothing back.
Now compare that attitude to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Jesus tells us that everyone is the same in the eyes of God. And that the least of all is precious to Him and should be precious to us as well. Thou shall not lie? Thou shall not commit adultery? Thou shall have no other Gods before me? Thou shall not covet? We are to honor our parents? Thou shall not kill? No idols? Why that’s UnAmerican! Every one of these rules suggest that we need to put God’s will and purposes before our own. And the thought of actually being held accountable for our actions. Well many people just don’t want to hear it. In fact, there are those (probably the same type person who would by a cell phone jamming device) who not only don’t want to hear the Gospel, but they don’t want anyone to tell it either.
Instead of heeding the Word of God, and repenting of their sin, they strike out instead. They file complaints to the management, because you dared to imply that they are sinners. And for all your good intentions and concern for their souls you are persecuted and rejected. And there is now a real possibility of consequences for you because you offended someone.
This situation has not changed in over 2000 years. 1 Peter 2: 19 For this is commendable, if because of conscience toward God one endures grief, suffering wrongfully. 20 For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God. 21 For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: 22 "Who committed no sin, Nor was deceit found in His mouth"; 23 who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously; 24 who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness--by whose stripes you were healed. 25 For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.
I have heard of families who have stopped inviting the “Jesus freak” to family events because they don’t want to hear about “Jesus” any more. Sinners who are so immersed in their sin that they react to the Gospel with vicious attacks on the anyone who might mention that they are lost.
How hard it can be to take the great commission seriously. But Peter is telling us that we must not give up. We must continue even though some will reject us. Jesus Himself was rejected scorned and tortured.
I can guarantee you that when you speak of your faith there will come a time when you will be rejected, you will be told to shut up and you will be persecuted.
If you have a real relationship with Jesus Christ, then you will be compelled to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is commanded by Christ that we do so. But the world will come against us. Our families will come against us. And there will be great pressure for you to give up. To set down and shut up. And we must grin a bare it. But I assure you that if you try to stand alone against this pressure, you will cave in! It may break your heart but you will keep your mouth shut in order to keep peace.
I have said time and time again, that we can not fulfill the Great commission alone. Jesus did not even send the disciples, those whom HE personally trained, out alone. He sent them out two at a time. Because He knew how hard it is to stand up to rejection.
So we keep our mouths shut in order to keep our jobs or to keep the peace. The problem is that for ever one person who will reject the Gospel there are two out there who will hear the Gospel and repent. And the only person who can reach them is you. Yet we don’t share Christ because we have been beaten down so much that we are afraid of offending people. We don’t want to rock the boat. We want to keep the peace.
Now I’m not saying that we should continually beat people over the head with the Bible. Jesus told the disciples to wipe the dust off of their shoes when they found people who reject the Gospel. But they were to put their shoes back on and find someone else. We are not to give up. We are not to be scared or bullied into silence. Because when we decide to be quiet, Satan wins!
So when we are rejected, we are to band together and face it. We are not in it alone. We may need to grin and bare it, but we never need to bare it alone. Amen.