Now I am not saying if you are an ass, and people don't like you, you are being persecuted like Jesus. Nope. In general you can trace back in a calmer frame of mind WHY no one wants to talk to you or have you around. Many of us recovering co-dependents and children of same have to work twice as hard to be:
But it will also get you the door with fearful, spiritually lost people. So how do you tell the difference? Or in other words, when do you take the blame for being unwise and when do you stand your ground?
You look at what they are upset about. Are they upset enough to call you names and malign your character, or are they upset about your actions and are fearful of the consequences?
In other words, is it an "ad hominem" (Latin - "to the man") attack, or is it an attack on the decision, choice or action?
If the first, you can safely blow them off. Every single time.
The second is trickier, 'cause we all have different ethics. What is shameful in one culture is common and acceptable in another.
Christians are called to transcend their culture and keep whatever is God-honoring within it.
We are not to fear men or their customs - but we are to respect and learn and compare it to Christ's P.O.V. We are called to be salt and light in this world and that means we affect the world positively.
We are not called to "fix" the world, but rather simply be agents of change, aiding the weaker - whether they are mentally, physically, financially, emotionally, or spiritually weaker than us. (You might want to re-read that and realize how many people can fit into one of those categories.)
I used to think that being financially poor made me a better Christian of faith, especially in America. No, but it has shown me that what I need and what I want are two VASTLY different things, and that is essential in spiritual growth. It clears the mind for action.
And an active hero decides to help the weaker against the stronger and change what is not God-honoring in his or her culture. He goes through loss to refine his or her soul, not to be crippled.
In my opinion, Abraham Lincoln was one of those men.
As you know from last week, I went down to Springfield, IL and visited the Abraham Lincoln Museum. They did a masterful job of showing his early years with a log cabin that had been preserved from that time period and his early years of self-discovery and self-education. How he literally won the hearts and earned the respect of his peers in Illinois with his wit and wisdom and well-known honesty. He worked hard and faltered several times before finding his calling in law.
But in the tour, you are taken from his Springfield years (his professional career and growth over two decades) to the White House and the first room you enter - the very first - is filled with all the negative caricatures, political cartoons and ridicule he received upon being elected President of the United States.
It was merciless. There's an obvious reason - Lincoln was elected with only 39% of the vote - and there were four candidates (Stephen Douglas was not the only Democrat, and it split the party's vote), so he was immediately outnumbered, as all true heroes are.
Lincoln is vilified in ways I could never have imagined. He is given the role of Satan in more than one cartoon. The designers for the museum did far more than let you see the attacks - they let you feel them. The nightmarish gallery is dark with its low lighting; monochromatic blue is everywhere and most picture frames and the false doors are warped and skewed. Overly dramatic? Not when you see the tens of illustrations and, thanks to voice actors, actually hear out loud much of what was being said about Lincoln.
I read the speech for his first inaugural address and began weeping. I did not mean to. I simply began weeping for Lincoln the man and his destiny.
It is my earnest opinion that God raised up this humble man to end slavery. No matter the political engines that initially drove his choices, the end result was that Lincoln ended up doing what no one else could or would do. He himself came to that conclusion as well, I think.
So whence all the attacks? Need I be blunt? Who fights against God and condemns His chosen, His elect? Who accuses us of malfeasance for simply showing up to do the job we are called to do?
Yeah. The Enemy of Mankind. He has plenty of unwitting slaves, full of fear and anger, embroiled in their own desires and hating those who might end their reign. And that was one slavery Lincoln could not abolish.
But Jesus Christ did, thank God.
I'll write more tomorrow, but for now, just think who opposes you and why. And if God is for you, no one can stand against you.
Just ask a little boy named David. Or any African-American you know or work with.
Was Lincoln serving God?
Was he hated for doing so?