Wednesday – December 11, 2013; Jude 1:17-23

But you, beloved, must remember the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; for they said to you, “In the last time there will be scoffers, indulging their own ungodly lusts.” It is these worldly people, devoid of the Spirit, who are causing divisions.  But you, beloved, build yourselves up on your most holy faith; pray in the Holy Spirit; keep yourselves in the love of God; look forward to the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to[a] eternal life.  And have mercy on some who are wavering; save others by snatching them out of the fire; and have mercy on still others with fear, hating even the tunic defiled by their bodies.

It is not always easy being a Christian these days, as there are people who will put us down for our faith…people who do not believe in any God, and feel that our faith is somehow based on a myth or a fairy tale…

Instead of just taking a ‘live and let live’ attitude and accepting our differences, some of these people will even revel in putting us down for our beliefs, and will paint all Christians with the same brush – thinking we are all like some radical ‘churches’ that like to picket funerals, and claim to know who and what God hates!

While it is bad enough for us to have our faith put-down or derided, it is also tough on our kids, who may be told that being Christian is ‘stupid’ and who may be made to feel as if their faith is not ‘cool’ or even appropriate.

We could get angry about this, and put up a fight, but this usually just gets us nowhere, as fighting over an issue can make things worse, take forever, and even if we do succeed in making our point most of these victories are hollow, as they are won under duress, and leave hurt feelings behind.

Instead of feeling put out or upset by those who would put us or our children down for our faith, we can show them compassion, as those who would deride someone else’s faith must be in a lot of pain and confusion in their own lives…not to mention that they may be feeling lost and alone, as they are lacking one of the major sources of strength in our lives that has seen us through so many hard times, and has also given us so much joy: our faith in the power of God’s love, as given to us through Christ!

And our faith is not in an absent Christ who has stepped back from our world, but one who is with us in the here and now, helping us to manage our sometimes hectic lives with our children by putting good people in our lives, who do share our faith, and offer us support.

By showing compassion to those who would insult us for our faith, we take away their power, and show them what it REALLY means to be a Christian!

This does not mean that we should preach to them, or try to ‘win them over for Christ’, but that we can show them our faith in action by treating them with respect (even if they do not act as if they deserve it) and as fellow children of God (even if they do not believe), and in doing so can show them the true power of God’s love in our world.

By reacting in this way, we are also showing our children what it means to live in faith, and to share their faith with others…even those who may not agree with them, and even put them down for being Christians.

We can show our children what it means to live our faith out loud, and how to share that faith with others.

Let us Pray

God, help us to show compassion for those who may not always be kind , let us show them compassion and forgiveness.  Help us remember that we too are not perfect, nor do we have all the answers, but that you do.  Help us to share your love with others, even those who claim not to believe in you, through our actions and how we respond to them.  Let us show the world, and our own children, what it means to walk in the light of the Risen Christ…the light that shines in the darkness of our world, and gives hope to all.

Amen

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