If the righteous receive their due on earth,
how much more the ungodly and the sinner!
- Proverbs 11:31
Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. For it is time for judgment to begin with God’s household; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And,
“If it is hard for the righteous to be saved,
what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?”
So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.
- 1 Peter 4:12-19
“A great problem in America is that we have an anemic and watered-down Christianity that has produced an anemic, watered-down, and spineless Christian who is not willing to stand up and be counted on every issue. We must have a virile, dynamic, and aggressive Christian who lives Christ seven days a week, who is ready to die, if necessary, for his faith. We need Christians who are ethical, honest, gracious, bold, strong, and devoted followers of the Lord Jesus Christ.”
- Billy Graham, Day by Day with Billy Graham (June 8)
Franklin Graham tried to do as his father had exhorted here, as he sent members of Samaritans Purse to the protest sites to witness for Christ among those who were protesting. I have heard many people, pastors mostly, who have stated in their blogs that they should go to the protest to show their support for the cause. In many cases, the knowledge of the inevitable riot may have caused them to not attend.
That, in some sense seems prudent, but I have had people not want to follow me in witnessing to strangers about Jesus, because they were afraid of what the strangers might say. Or were they afraid that an on-looker might be a friend who would react unkindly. What people say as their excuse for not talking about Jesus and what their reason might really be are two separate issues. In some cases, they do not know the love of Christ, and thus they have nothing to say. Some are like me – introverts, but I have overcome my timidity, at least many times. For others, the fear can be debilitating.
I have written before about how I was issued an M-60 machine gun for ROTC summer camp, while the War in Vietnam was still going. I have also written about a training exercise that used real ammunition instead of blanks and how it went horribly wrong and my ammunition bearer panicked and tried to run for his life. I tackled him and then shielded his body with mine. The sergeant took three actions once the firing ceased and we were again safe. He commanded the person who had lost his nerve to get on the cattle car (an 18-wheeler flatbed with bench seats – a great way to eat dust for an hour). As the sergeant gave the command, he rolled his eyes, wondering if this officer candidate was worthy to lead others. The second action was to cuss me out. He leaned in close to me so that I was the only one who could hear. He was almost crying as he said, “Don’t you ever do that again. We don’t need any more dead heroes.” I am sure that the sergeant had placed friends in body bags in Vietnam, some who had done the brave thing. The third thing was to call another sergeant over and clean the shrapnel off the back of my uniform. I had reasoned correctly that the shrapnel would not hit me with enough velocity to cause damage as I lay in a shallow trench behind the foxhole, but the sergeant was afraid that I would sit on a bit of shrapnel, get a cut, and bleed to death before we arrived back at the barracks. They picked me clean of shrapnel and bits of broken barbed wire like mother monkeys looking for bugs in their children’s hair. As a result, I was the last to get on the cattle car, at the back, eating the most dust.
But I wasn’t brave as much as I acted instinctively. With God in me, I risked my life to save the life of a friend. And for the life of me, I cannot remember the friend’s name.
But are we brave enough to simply tell people that Jesus loves you? Is that not a simple thing to say? Yes, the retort might be “Prove it!” Or “How do you know?” Or a few others that have been shouted at me by angry people who it becomes obvious that the Holy Spirit has not conditioned before I said something. And that’s it. When someone comes to Jesus to accept Him, the Holy Spirit has been working in that person’s life, convicting them of their sins.
The Holy Spirit does the heavy lifting. All we must do is show up. Are you ready?
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.