The insolent utterly deride me, but I do not turn away from your law.  Psalm 119:51

    Who are they?  Is it the unbelievers who openly ridicule, who name call and attempt to shame us for our faith?  Not always.  The most hurtful critics can be brothers and sisters in Christ.  Passionate disciples draw criticism.  Can ‘hot’ and ‘lukewarm’ coexist?  Not easily.  When a child of God is completely consumed with his spiritual journey and little in this world is attractive to him, his decisions about how to spend his time and money will rub across the grain of the casual believer.  The result will be, most likely, snide comments, rolling of the eyes, and the attempt to make God’s disciple second guess himself.  He will weep over the pain of rejection.  He will writhe over the discomfort of not fitting in.  

    You and I must adjust our expectations.  The deeper we go with Jesus, the more our relationships are tested.  If you have gotten serious about your faith in the past five years, more than likely you have also noticed a shift in your friendships and family relationships.  Unless everyone around you has been on the same journey and you are unified in your consuming fire for Christ, expect conflict.  People who once knew you and could once predict your actions will be shaking their head, wondering what has happened to the person they once knew.  All they know is – something changed.  They might even accuse you of not being much fun anymore.  Truth be told, your idea of fun has radically changed.  Your lack of frivolity makes you seem stoic to them.  Little do they know that the deep current of your soul is on fire.

    The challenge is to handle scorners with grace and not disgust.  The sin of pride rises to the surface and begs to judge but perhaps those closest to you have not yet arrived at the moment when God would take them to new places.  We must pray, wait, and walk our journey with quiet humility.   The hardest thing is to let discomfort exist without trying to fix it by acting like our old selves.  If God has called us to new places, let’s walk unashamed.

    Are you tired of being the subject of ridicule?  I suspect that most every time Jesus retreated into solitude when others wanted to party and make Him king, He sustained the barbs of criticism.  God’s way for each of His children is solitary.  Faith building muscles are not usually strengthened in the company of the crowd but in the trenches of the wilderness; with only one or two close by.  For every Spirit friend you have who is on the same page spiritually, rejoice.  Embrace them.  Tearfully communicate your gratitude for the miracle of their companionship.  When God unifies, and when God is the center, none can be torn apart.  The comforting encouragement of a true Spirit partner washes away the remarks of a dozen critics.

Give me the grace and courage to be who I am now, with everyone around me.  Amen


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