Thursday, May 20, 2010

forgive them for they know not what they do

lately, i have been struggling with persecution. but not in the random mean people making rude comments sort of way. nope, it's someone that is supposed to be my "friend" that is testing my ability to withstand persecution.

for some reason my many years growing up in the church had always given me the impression that persecution had to come from outside your circle of friends. i somehow took the church bubble and included all of my friends, christian and not, as a part of the nice group. however, this friend of my just tests my ability to remain strong as a person of character. but i guess more details will allow for a greater lesson.

i have been assigned to a group project by one of my professors with four close friends. a precious girl from one of my classes was assigned to work with us and she decided to email me because she felt out of the loop. well, we just hit it off and ended up being in multiple classes together. i just really enjoy her and the fact that we have many things in common in such a short period of getting to know each other. none of my friends on the other hand have taken any interest in being cordial to her, much less befriending her. well, i am glad to have her as all mine since no one else has made an effort, and i'm really excited to say she is worshipping the same God that i am at the same congregation i attend!

in all of my excitement i shared the great news about my new friend to a couple of the other girls in the group. the same girls that took no initiative in reaching out to her. one in particular took it upon herself to let me know i'm weird and creepy in taking such an interest in a random girl in my classes. she has taken it upon herself to make sure i know how negatively she feels about my choices and actions at every opportunity and has even brought other friends into the mix by encouraging them to take on her rude ways. from verbal statements to facebook posts, it all is rude and hurtful.

while every part of me wants to shake her and say wake up you aren't that much cooler than me! i realize that there is no point in doing so. she believes that she is too cool to make an effort. she believes that anyone worth being friends with will pursue her. well, she is missing out. i am working on being proud of my friendliness and outgoing ways, while continuously being humbled by her rude words. jesus had some of the same issues during his time on earth.

we all know the stories of peter and judas. the ultimate traitors. they were in the jesus camp. they knew what he was up to, they knew he was the son of an almighty God, yet they betrayed him in the ultimate of ways. but more than just judas and peter, jesus was/is betrayed by us, the ones He came to save. he made the greatest of sacrifices, yet we daily persecute Him through our intentions, interactions, and all else.

but thankfully, jesus, while hanging upon the cross, begged for our pardon in saying,

"Father, forgive them for they know not what they do." -Luke 23:34

jesus was not just speaking about the group gathered around him at the time of his crucifixion. he is speaking to God the Father about us too. knowing that for centuries after his sacrifice man would continue to sin against Christ day in and day out. thankfully, he is not looking to give us what we deserve, but instead he desires to bring us into the heavenly kingdom with him and His Father.

so, in persecution, whether from inside your bubble of friends or not, be faithful to Him. or in the words of the greatest cliche, do what Jesus would do. think about it like jesus is asking you, "________ (insert name here), to forgive them for they know not what they do". wow, with a decree from Christ himself it is so much easier to keep a kind heart. just smile, it's hard to say mean things with a smile on your face. and remember He is watching from above and is proud of your obedience.

song of the day:
after your heart
by: phil wickham

learn the words and sing along. it makes you want to be more like Him. this is a desire that is so important to breed and song always makes it easier... :) and like Phil says, "lift your soul and sing with the choir... Hallelujah"


chris said... Best Blogger Tips

BOOM BABY! and you bring your new friend to the nest to meet the rest of your gang! and please my precious baby girl...always spread your wings as you are so able to fly but do not fly too far away from this mama birdie! loves by the eggfull!

Gwynne said... Best Blogger Tips

Hi Amber,You are such a smart and godly young woman! Jesus will surely "remind" those "sweet sisters" in His time about love, kindness and friendship. In the meantime, just keep calm and carry on - as you are doing what the Lord desires!Hugs,Aunt Gwynno

Lisa said... Best Blogger Tips

this makes me want to cry, Amber. i can't believe you wrote about this... let me just tell you, it's INCREDIBLY affirming to know that you had taken such genuine interest in me already, despite how little you knew about me.. and THEN held steadfast to your loyalty and beliefs, even in the face of group criticism and uncalled for mockery. *sigh* i feel like this topic is something i'd love to talk to you about in person. i used to experience a lot of this same heat from the people who i used to call "friends". worse, i'd allow for their negative judgments to affect the ways in which i viewed myself and the ways i viewed others. until I made the cognitive shift in my mind that true friends don't cast shadows upon the people and things you find light in. once i realized this, i no longer allowed their negativity to influence my perceptions, and their admonishments ceased to hold weight in my life. since then, i've chosen to invest in people whom i've come to acknowledge as true brothers and sisters in my life-- those who openly and unabashedly affirm and love me as a person. these are the people who continually remind me of my intrinsic worth and value as a daughter of God. YOU have become one of these people! i hope to speak this truth into YOUR heart as our friendship will undoubtedly blossom in our time to come!stay strong, and remain graceful even when under fire. ♥ LT