How do you stand tall in the face of persecution?
Of course, I am my own worst critic. I tend to be more critical of myself than anyone else but there are occasions where I feel I have been unjustly accused.
My daughter has recently gone through a tough time with another girl. I honestly don’t think anyone but circumstance is at fault but feelings have been hurt. I ran into the other girl’s mom the other day and approached her with the intention of trying to build a bridge so that we could help our kids together. She would have none of it, however.
The hurt she feels for her daughter goes deep and although my family didn’t have anything to do with it, she lashed out at me and it wasn’t pretty. In fact, it was fairly public so it wasn’t only awkward it was embarrassing. I left feeling hurt myself and frustrated at the situation.
Years ago, I probably would have crumbled under the pressure of feeling as though there was someone out there who didn’t like me. I would have felt the need to defend myself and I would have spent countless hours analyzing the situation both justifying myself and blaming myself. In my head I would know that it wasn’t my fault but in my heart, I would always wonder if it was.
I can’t stand the idea of not being liked. I believe I have a good heart and I work really hard to let people see that. Still, against my wishes, they sometimes see something in me that isn’t flattering and I feel judged, wrongly accused or persecuted. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying in any way that I am perfect or have perfect intentions all the time. I just know that for the most part, my heart is usually in the right place.
So it’s really hard when people don’t see it. Especially women. We are all in this together, right?
I have to remind myself that Jesus was the only perfect man who ever lived and a lot of people didn’t like him. They even crucified him. So if the Son of God can’t escape this type of persecution, why would I think that I would be different?
"If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words,
leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet."
Matthew 10:14 (NIV)
Jesus was sending out the disciples to find lost sheep and offer healing to them. He knew there would be places they wouldn’t be welcome, however, so he instructed them when that happened to shake the dust from their feet and move on. There was simply no point in going on and on about it. There were plenty of people who would listen.
I sometimes wonder if the disciples ever got their feelings hurt when they felt rejected? Or, had they learned that critical lesson of moving on? It has taken me most of my adult life to get a grip on the concept that not everyone will like me. It’s okay. I just have to remember to shake the dust from my feet and move on.
I am not angry with the woman who gave me a piece of her mind. In fact, I am glad to know where we stand. I can walk away knowing this is not my battle and leave it to the Lord. I will continue on my way and linger with those who are open to my words, thankful for a God who shared the secret of feeling persecuted with me. Shake the dust off my feet.
How do you cope when you are feeling persecuted?