Wednesday, December 6, 2017
Read Acts 4:23-31
Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” Acts 4:29-30
For God does not give us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and self-control. 2 Timothy 1:7
"Didn't you wear that shirt a day ago?"
I looked down at my green, pin striped, long sleeve shirt.
"Yeah." was all I could muster. She was one of the many that didn't like me, and I didn't know why. I can remember her looking down at me smugly and walking away. She was right.
Truth was, I hadn't seen my mom in a week. She wasn't around to do laundry and I didn't know how. I was only in 4th grade.
But why did so many of my peers hate me? Why did they say mean things, and tape notes to my back? Why did I sit alone at lunch and play by myself at recess? I was hated for no reason.
When I would get to Middle and High School, I would soon find my Christian identity attacked. I would be anxious over my safety because I was white. I would be bullied for my race and my faith. Girls would swarm around my locker, I would get into fights and avoid school some days and fall into a deep depression. Although I had the answers, I still asked why.
There are simple answers and ones that I wouldn't be able to know for a long time. But it would soon come when I found the One who went before me and suffered far more cruelty from people than I ever did. He would teach me that people are fallen, hateful, insecure, and just simply broken. It isn't always a straightforward reason as to why we suffer at the hands of people we should trust or who have no reason to hate you at all, but what matters is how we respond. Jesus responded with patience, wisdom, and love. He responded with grace and understanding. This Christmas, let’s recall and meditate on Him who went before us to model and teach us how to react when we are bullied or even hated for his namesake.
PRAYER: Father, help us to forgive as Jesus forgave, respond as he responded and love as he loved, for we don’t always know how the people around us have suffered and what they have had to endure. And please protect the little ones in our midst who are suffering silently. Open our eyes to see and our hearts to respond.
Prayer Focus: for children who are suffering neglect and abuse