15th April, 2005 - Article Copyrighted Debbie Porter
"Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven..."
~ Matthew 5:11-12a NIV ~
Although I could be wrong, and I'm sure Kylie will correct me if I am, I believe it was the first time in her nearly 20 years of life that she had ever encountered any form of personal attack because of her faith. When it came earlier this week, it came out of the blue and from someone with whom she thought she had a good relationship. Although relatively minor, the experience left her saddened.
Kylie enjoys her work at a local children's playroom. She loves the owners and greatly appreciates the way they treat their staff.
When it comes to working with the public, Kylie is very aware that you have to take the good with the bad and keep smiling – and for the most part, it's good.
Then there are her actual co-workers – mainly school students in the 14 to 18 age range, all of whom Kylie finds fairly easy to get along with.
All in all, the working environment is very good and ideal for someone studying to be an early childhood teacher. The sound of children squealing all day wouldn't entice me to apply for a job, but for Kylie it's all part of a day's work and her future career.
So when that little incident happened with one of her young workmates, it shook her sense of wellbeing and brought a little storm into what has been a fairly sheltered life.
For the most part, Kylie doesn't act like the morality police when she is with people who don't know the Lord. However, on this particular occasion there were two reasons why she corrected the 16-year-old boy who was working with her. One reason was that it happened in an area designed for children and their parents. For that reason alone, Kylie's professionalism and understanding of what is and isn't appropriate in business, would have caused her to correct the teenager. However, the other reason was that he had used the Lord's name as a swear word – something that has always caused Kylie a certain degree of distress. As she has often said, it actually makes her feel ill to hear someone use her Savior's name in a blasphemous way.
Being Kylie, she gave the youth a quick pat on the arm and said as lightly as she could, "Hey ... watch your language."
She believed that the easy-going relationship they had would take the sting out of the correction and yet still make the point. Unfortunately, it didn't. In fact, as the day wore on, the younger worker moved from teasing Kylie about her faith, to actually mocking her.
By the time Kylie arrived home, she was feeling quite sad. Although she knew that a large part of the behavior had come from immaturity and was an over-reaction on the boy's part, it still hurt. As she shared what had happened, I gave her a pat on the shoulder and said the words that she probably knew I was going to say:
"Welcome to the real world hon."
The persecution and mockery that the majority of us will face in the western world, at this point in time, is relatively minor. That isn't to say that it never happens, particularly in the workplace, but for the most part, very few of us have had to face much more than the sort of thing Kylie experienced that day.
Even so, no matter what the degree, whenever we are treated in this way we are experiencing a small taste of what it was like for Jesus Himself, who was insulted, persecuted, falsely accused, mocked, beaten and put to death for our sake.
It's a small price for us to pay for His sake ... a price that has an eternal reward.
Something to Think About ...
In Sri Lanka at this time there is growing support for the introduction of anti-conversion laws. If the legislation is introduced, it would make it a crime for anyone to attempt to convert a person to another faith.
If it does go through, it won't be the first time that a nation has criminalized evangelism or the spread of the Gospel, and it also won't be the first time that Christian men and women will put their lives on the line in order to see the Kingdom of God expanded.
For most of us, that form of persecution is way beyond our daily experience. Perhaps acknowledging that fact will help us put things into perspective when next we are on the receiving end of some form of mockery or abuse for our faith.
We need to stop and consider whether we ever shrink back from speaking up for the Lord, in order to protect ourselves. If we come to the conclusion that we do, then it's time for us to be willing to step out of our comfort zones and, with love and grace, raise the banner of His truth where it is being trodden into the mud. If we won't do it when we are living in times of great freedom, we definitely won't do it when the going gets tough.
Father God ...
Give me courage when I need,
In love, Your truth to speak,
To be a shining light for You,
To guide the lost who seek.
Oh, but when I share my faith,
And others mock and jeer,
Remind me of the cross, Lord,
Let me see Christ through my tears.