Matthew 5;11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil agains you because of me. “
I wonder if this verse is solely meant for the persecution some Christians experience at the hands of non-Christians. We as Christians persecute each other too. For things that those ‘other’ believers are doing out of their own love for Christ. Sometimes it’s an overt attack or expulsion, more frequently it’s in the mutterings from one person to another, or the condescending arrogance of a self-appointed teacher.
But we also have an obligation to each other. To share the things we know. Do you love someone by holding helpful information from them? Really? We want to help people. We want to just tell them the lessons that we worked so hard for. To save them form that anguish. that’s a noble intention. It just has to be done so carefully. with an honestly pure intention. And, as a rule of thumb, my intention is probably measured by the number of questions I ask. Am I searching with someone, helping them find the answers that are right and true? Or am I just pushing my stale truths onto them? If I’m not asking questions, I run the risk of just pontificating. [Which is pretty much the point of a blog, or Facebook, but not face to face conversations.]
That also keeps us from being the persecutors. I had intended to write a condemnation of ‘those Christians’ that persecute, but I find myself noticing my own role. I do this too. Especially in response to the reaction some of my beliefs have provoked. I don’t spank, so ‘more experienced’ mothers give me that look like I’m some idealist youth. (Which I am, and hope to always be.) I breastfed, and feel passionately that breastmilk is what God designed and intended for babies, so some moms consider me arrogant. Look, I don’t think you’re uneducated or dumb because you feed formula. I don’t know your story. I know what pain breastfeeding can cause. I’ve surprised many a lactation consultant and La Leche League leader by continuing to breastfeed through pain that seemed unreasonable and unnecessary to them. I know that we all do our best with what we have. But I do forget that people don’t have the information that I do. After a while, I find myself unconsciously expecting anyone who knows me to know how and why I feel the way that I do. And honestly, if you’re my friend on Facebook (referencing my personal account here – I’m still trying to get better about using my blog page more regularly) then you only don’t know my positions if you don’t want to know. I talk. A lot.
But it’s not ok for me to forget and assume that people know what I know. I do it, and I’m working on it. But I do need to be apologizing for the times I mess up. That’s what moves me from ‘persecutor’ to ‘sister’. I don’t know if that verse is referencing Christians who act like I do. I suspect it’s referencing those with a bit more intentional malice than I generally wield, but I don’t know. I do know that I don’t want you to be blessed because of that. Let God bless you through a whole host of ways, but not because I was a jerk to you. I’m aiming for behavior a little better than that.