ODJ: stand, don’t fight

January 3, 2016 

READ: Romans 12:14-21 

Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them (v.14).

Cameron, a friend of mine, didn’t share my spiritual beliefs. He openly opposed Christianity and some of its moral tenets. One day in my previous workplace, he led a seminar on domestic violence and used it as a chance to bash the Bible. His “correlation” was illogical and inappropriate. The book that tells husbands to “love their wives as they love their own bodies” and instructs fathers “Do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them” does not condone violence in the home (Ephesians 5:28, 6:4).

Happily, a supervisor got to him before I did, or I might have had to apologize for what I said. That same day, however, I lodged a formal complaint with suggestions on how the topic might be approached in the future.

Not much later, I read a letter from a church planter from another country. He told of a group that was placing huge speaker boxes outside their churches in an attempt to disrupt worship and pick a fight with Christians. The minister had one request: “Please help me pray for our people to remember what Jesus taught us and keep the same focus that He did.” His words touched my heart and opened my eyes. Scripture tells us, “Bless those who persecute you” (Romans 12:14). These good people were on the cusp of genuine persecution. I wasn’t anywhere near it.

I thought about the mere annoyance I had faced from one person in our workplace. And I considered the real potential for violence that this church planter’s people faced. The difference was obvious. I asked the Holy Spirit to change my attitude. Then I prayed for God’s peace for that church planter and for those Christians who are a hemisphere away. And I also prayed for Cameron, for he needs Jesus too.

—Tim Gustafson

365-day-plan: Genesis 4:1-16

Read Ephesians 5:21–6:4 to see Paul’s practical advice for respecting each other in the home. 
How do you react when your spiritual beliefs are ridiculed? Do you want to fight? Do you shrink from the situation? How can you let Jesus turn it to good?