As Christians, we are often subject to different forms of treatment from others. There are some people who love us for our love and connection to God. There are some people who dislike us for our love and connection to God because often times it is something that people cannot understand. What happens when we are criticized and ostracized for our love for God? What happens when we are accepted and rewarded by others for our love for God?
Ostracized and Criticized:
In today's reading in Mark 15, the Bible talks about Jesus being turned over to Pilate. In retrospect Jesus was brought before Pilate because people did not understand the power of God. Prior to my yearning and desire to want to know and the study the Bible more, I always felt like Jesus was ostracized because people were haters. Although this may be somewhat true, in my opinion I felt as though he was brought before Pilate because people did not understand the greatness of God's power.
In Mark 15, Jesus was brought before the people on frivolous charges just because people were too afraid to get to know him. Pilate himself knew that the people wanted Jesus prosecuted out of envy and spite. He had done nothing wrong: he healed the sick, he restored peace, he gave people hope, and he released demons out of people to say the least. Mark 15 reads: "12 And Pilate answered and said again unto them, What will ye then that I shall do unto him whom ye call the King of the Jews? 13 And they cried out again, Crucify him. 14 Then Pilate said unto them, Why, what evil hath he done? And they cried out the more exceedingly, Crucify him.15 And so Pilate, willing to content the people, released Barabbas unto them, and delivered Jesus, when he had scourged him, to be crucified" (KJV). Pilate wanted to please the people because he feared what they would do if he didn't have. In the beginning it was so easy to become so frustrated with Pilate but he is no different than any of us. How many times have we refused to stand up for someone when we know there is a wrong being committed? How many times have we denied truth? I know I'm guilty of the two. However, no matter how many times Jesus was ostracized and criticized by the people, he NEVER waivered in his faith.
Accepted & Rewarded:
In today's reading in 1 Kings 10, the Bible talks about Queen Sheba coming to meet Solomon. She heard about his wisdom, but she wanted to see and find out the depth of his wisdom on her own. Once she encountered Solomon's wisdom she was in awe. Instead of rejecting what she initially did not understand, Queen Sheba was willing to give Solomon that benefit of the doubt. 1 Kings 10 reads: 9 Blessed be the Lord your God, who delighted in you, setting you on the throne of Israel! Because the Lord has loved Israel forever, therefore He made you king, to do justice and righteousness.” (KJV). In return for Solomon's favor and faithfulness with God, Sheba rewarded him with gold and spices.
Christians will either be Accepted and Rewarded for their love for Christ or they'll be Ostracized and Criticized for that same love for Christ. I know I have encountered both instances. I remember growing up wearing long skirts everyday to school (even in the winter and I wasn't as cold as people thought LOL!) and people would always ask me why. During that same period in my life, I always knew I was different from everyone else and it was more obvious by the fact that I never wore pants...EVER! In those moments I felt ostracized because I didn't feel like I fit in. Of course I had tons of friends, but I felt like they didn't know my struggle of physically standing out because of my skirts. But on the other hand, teachers and authority loved it! I never dressed provocative, I always looked nice, and for some reason I stood out in a positive light to them. As I got older and was able to reflect on God and his favor in my life I had to realize that although this road with HIM in it is worth it, it doesn't mean it'll be easy.
My prayer for all of us is that regardless of whether we are criticized, ostracized, rewarded, and/or accepted, that we will continue to LOVE God and stand firm in our faith. Even when the road gets tough and it seems so much easier to go with the crowd, that we continue to stick out and be the chosen ones that God has called. I can think of friends who I feel has had what I felt has been an easier road to Christ than me. Some have been able to have soooo much fun (going out, partying, drinking, etc.) and have found their way to Christ. I soon found out that what my friends were doing was in no way any type of fun. Regardless, it is important not to compare our struggles to one another. At the end of the day God does not give us more than we can bear. So if you are ostracized and criticized just know that God chose you for that particular struggle. Whatever the case may be, don't give up on God because we has YET to EVER give up on you.
It's Never Too Late To Transform Your Tuesday :)
Transforming Tuesday: Jamera