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“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you” (1 Peter 4:12-14 English Standard Version Commentary Adaptation). I never thought my greatest wounds would come from other Christians.
Should I really be surprised? It was the religious Pharisees and scholars who persecuted Jesus.
Yet the minute it happened, I broke down. I felt like I’d been sucker punched, beaten, and left for dead.
Thoughts multiplied in my mind:
How do you walk into a room full of people who hate you?
How do you look at your perpetrators like they’re your best buds?
How do you keep going when you’d prefer to throw in the towel?
Like Jesus did.
It’s not an easy, comfortable, or formidable task. In any and all of these situations, facing those who hate you, loving them, and acting with perseverance are challenges we all must face at one time or another. We might be shaken, crumbling, and broken. There’s no doubt about that.
But the way we get through those things anyway is rooted in something that cannot be shaken, taken, or broken away from us. That something is Jesus Christ and the faith, hope, love, joy, and peace He plants deep within our hearts, minds, souls, and beings.
Psalm 16:8-11 of the English Standard Version says “I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure. For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption. You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:8-11, English Standard Version).