Opinions; August 10, 2020

Luke 6:22 “Blessed are you when men hate you,
when they exclude you and insult you
and reject your name as evil,
because of the Son of Man.”

My first thought on reading this was that Donald Trump is greatly blessed, because this certainly describes how he is being treated! And the thing is, he is being treated this way because his policies are far more in line with Biblical principles than are those of his opposition. I have heard Christians argue the opposite, but even a cursory look at the stated policies of his political opposition should convince you to back him. He is far from perfect, as we all are, but people react against him most when he doubles down to back something that is straight from the Bible. The larger lesson from this verse is that we aren’t to let the opinions of people, expressed and otherwise, govern either our actions or our attitudes. That is actually something that is stated in various ways throughout the Bible. One of the clearest expressions of it was what Peter and John, uneducated fishermen, stated so boldly before the Sanhedrin: “Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God’s sight to obey you rather than God.” (Acts 4:19) We interact with and influence many, but in the final analysis we are performing for an audience of One. As has been noted, it is impossible to please everyone, and trying to do so will tear you apart. Several places in the Bible, this one included, indicate that if you are running into human opposition you should be glad, because it means you’re doing something right! Focus on “the opinions of men” has become so intense that people are committing suicide over nasty things said about them on social media, and that seems both pathetic and absurd. We need to seek God’s opinion of who we are and what we are doing, and live for His approval and not that of people.

As I wrote that I remembered the many reports I’ve read of persecution in many different countries, like China, Pakistan, India, Nigeria, and more. The opposition Christians face in the US and Japan is certainly insignificant in comparison! I feel like I have faced so little opposition that I have occasionally gotten worried about whether I was really following the Lord! I have had people walk out on me and I have had people launch “whisper campaigns” against me, but that has all seemed very minor compared to what I knew was happening to my brothers and sisters in, say, North Korea. All the same, I have let the opinions of people affect me more than I should. That isn’t at all to say I am to dismiss all criticism; I am no more perfect than anyone else. However, I need to have the attitude that Peter and John expressed, and do all I can to hear and obey my Lord.

Father, thank You for this reminder. We set up today for the photo show that runs from tomorrow through the 17th. I’ll be getting a lot of compliments during that period. Keep me from being swayed by those, either! Help me indeed live as Your child, Your servant, and let everything else fall into place after that central reality, so that I may do Your will for Your glory alone. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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