There’s something that bothers me about the typical American Christian (I specify ‘American’ only because I’m not familiar with Christians in other countries), something that bothers me as well as a large number of non-Christians/atheists: they tend to be pretty whiny. Any mention of anything which goes against “conservative Christian values,” even if it’s not attacking Christianity directly, gets their hackles up and we hear cries of “Persecution!”
Well, I hate to tell you, if you are a Christian then ‘persecution*’ is part and parcel of your lot in life. We aren’t Christians so that our lives will be easier, so that we can feel good about ourselves, so that we can feel secure. We’re Christians because we recognize that there is a a divine Being who exists and has made everything, One God in three Persons who alone is worthy of worship merely because of His awesomeness.
A large majority of the population though does not believe in our God. They think that we Christians are irrational, immature, ignorant, and deluded and they will treat us bad because of that. But that’s okay! The whole point of this post comes from today’s Epistle reading, Hebrews 10:32-39:
Remember the days past when, after you had been enlightened, you endured a great contest of suffering. At times you were publicly exposed to abuse and affliction; at other times you associated yourselves with those so treated. You even joined in the sufferings of those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, knowing that you had a better and lasting possession. Therefore, do no throw away your confidence; it will have great recompense. You need endurance to do the will of God and receive what He has promised. “For, after just a brief moment, he who is to come shall come; he shall not delay. But my just one shall live by faith, and if he draws back I take no pleasure in him.” We are not among those who draw back and perish, but among those who have faith and will possess life.
Paul is writing here to a community of Christians that were in danger of apostasy due to growing weary of the demands of a Christian life. They were growing weary of trying to live holy lives; growing weary of enduring persecutions, ridicule, and abuse; growing weary from the constant onslaught of society against them. But Paul quotes another scripture, saying that if we ‘draw back,’ away from our faith, then God will find no pleasure in us.
We aren’t to whine and complain when things don’t go our way. We’re not supposed to put up such a big fuss when our ‘Christian values’ are being threatened by society: society should have absolute no sway over us. The meaning of ‘holy’ is “set apart.” As Christians we are called to be set apart from the rest of the world. Let them do their own thing! And let us do ours.
Stop whining. Endure the sufferings and afflictions that are set before you. Ours is a better and lasting possession than the things of this world.
We are not among those who draw back and perish, but among those who have faith and will possess life.
(*) This word is used way way way way way too much and in so many incorrect ways by most. Being actively hunted down and killed? That’s persecution. A movie making fun of your religion? That’s not. The state/country forceably closing churches and throwing the clergy and laity into gulag? That’s persecution.