12 Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; 13 but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. 14 If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified. (I Peter 4:12-14)
Recently my wife came under persecution from a family a member. She was quietly and patiently encouraging a loved one to take faith further than a church building or listening to a pastor’s sermon. When you approach someone in love you don’t expect a verbal assault in return. Especially one so enraged that it lasts for 40 minutes. All the while innocent children in the presence bear witness to a full blown monstrosity that declares their own righteousness, calling you evil for even suggesting they might not be on the path to Salvation. For even suggesting the life being lived is in contradiction to the Word of God. Not to mention the family member is ignorant of what the Word states as Truth. If that wasn’t enough, an hour after this verbal assault, another family member calls with thier own verbal assault against my wife for breaking the peace in the family. What was my wife’s crime? In their eyes it was speaking the name of Christ and trying to share His Truth out of love and concern. And in my wife’s pain and anguish over her family coming against her she cried out to the Lord to ask why. He answered and said to her by the Spirit “I am a fire on the lips of those who hate Me.” And no doubt. When we are not in Christ Jesus then we are apart from God. We are all born enemies of God.
This was certainly a trial not just for my wife, but for our children who witnessed the attack on their mother as well as their own character. For little children to be called brain washed and weak. Lacking in character and ability. This isn’t something they expected from someone they have known all their short lives and love dearly. But the Lord has been very gracious to and through them. The Lord has given us all strength, peace and understanding. Allow me to share some scripture that the Lord has guided us to. I hope it helps you if you ever come into a similar situation.
49 “I came to send fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! 50 But I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how distressed I am till it is accomplished! 51 Do you suppose that I came to give peace on earth? I tell you, not at all, but rather division. 52 For from now on five in one house will be divided: three against two, and two against three. 53 Father will be divided against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.” (Luke 12:49-53)
He warned us this would happen because of His Truth. He told us “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. (Luke 14:26) And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. (Luke 21:17)
We don’t seek to be cast away, but that because of love for Him and love for His ways, we are divided from those who hate Him and His ways.
But take courage! He told us who His family really is:
46 While He was still talking to the multitudes, behold, His mother and brothers stood outside, seeking to speak with Him. 47 Then one said to Him, “Look, Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside, seeking to speak with You.”
48 But He answered and said to the one who told Him, “Who is My mother and who are My brothers?” 49 And He stretched out His hand toward His disciples and said, “Here are My mother and My brothers! 50 For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother.” (Mat. 12:46-50)
We love our natural family and want them to know Christ as we have known Him. We want to share the light and help them in their struggles. But sometimes just mentioning the name of Christ and walking in His ways can set a fire on the lips of those who Hate Him. As Jesus has said:
If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also. 21 But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me. (John 15:18-21)
Therefore let us not weep or despair for a moment of turmoil. Or some short lived light affliction. Jesus said:
22 Blessed are you when men hate you,
And when they exclude you,
And revile you, and cast out your name as evil,
For the Son of Man’s sake.
23 Rejoice in that day and leap for joy!
For indeed your reward is great in heaven,
For in like manner their fathers did to the prophets. (Luke 6:22-23)
27 “But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you. 29 To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also. And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either. 30 Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back. 31 And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise.
32 “But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back. 35 But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. 36 Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful. (Luke 6:32-36)
I hope no one has taken pity on my wife or kids. We see this as something that had to happen. In part to strengthen us, but also because we are disciples of Christ this has to be expected. Even from family. But above all I want to remember and convey to anyone who reads here what Paul said concerning who we are really fighting and how to fight those who come against us.
10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age,[c] against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints (Eph. 6:10-18)