June 27

Written by Bill Grandi on June 27th, 2023

Scenario #1: A man or woman is arrested for preaching or teaching, i.e. proselytizing. He or she is thrown into prison and on a daily basis is beaten or punished until he/she recants.

Scenario #2: A man or woman goes to work each day simply to do his/her job and do it well. That’s it. He/she doesn’t go there to be a troublemaker or to show anyone up; get a promotion; or to condemn. But their Christian faith is evident in how they do their job. But there is one co-worker who seems to have one mission: make life miserable for that person.

Scenario #3: A high school student excels in sports or academics or both. This student is motivated, not by a desire to prove he or she is the best, but by his/her love for Jesus to simply do their best in all things. But one student, one teammate takes offense, perhaps out of jealousy, or perhaps vindictiveness, to make life miserable by spreading lies or maybe getting “physical” in sports or in the classroom.

Scenario #4: A self-proclaimed “religious overlord” determines he, and he only, knows what is right and wrong. He makes an effort to oust the pastor or a teacher or a member because he/she is the self-proclaimed “church police of correct thinking.” That person leaves because they fail to get their way, but then returns one day expecting all to be forgiven and forgotten, even extending a hand to the one they policed. The motive for that extended hand is questionable.

In all four scenarios, there is a victim and a perpetrator. In all four scenarios the victim reacts differently than expected. Proverbs 25:21-22 tells us why: “If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat, and if he isĀ  thirsty, give him water to drink, for you will heap burning coals on his head, and the Lord will reward you.”

Showing kindness in the face of persecution, torment, ridicule, slander, or extreme hurt and betrayal, is counterintuitive to the way society operates. But not in the way God’s economy works. Peter tells us that Jesus was persecuted, tormented, and beaten but He didn’t open His mouth (I Peter 2:21-23).

Let’s be like Jesus. Let’s trust Him to make all things new and right. Let’s trust Him to give us the strength, and if things don’t get better, to follow in His steps. Let’s be “burning coal stackers.”


10 Comments so far ↓

  1. Ryan S says:

    Motive is key… I think in the case of the first 3 scenarios, you have cases where those who are not professing Christ are treating Christ followers poorly… I would say this is to be expected.
    In the case of the 4th scenarios, you have those that all proclaim to be followers of Christ… Jesus had a very different attitude toward the “religious elite”. Tables were turned and times words said to point out the “religiosity” and “hypocritical” thinking.

    No doubt our motive needs to be in check in response to those scenarios as well.

    • Bill Grandi says:

      That is a great analysis Ryan! I had not even pictured that division in the scenarios. Thanks for pointing that out! Motives are most definitely vital.

  2. Scenario #2 happened to me, Bill. It is not a good place to be, that’s for sure!
    But to have the heart of Jesus, we have to forgive and move on. That wasn’t easy for me, especially at the time, since those accusations led to my actually having to resign from my job. Looking back, that was a better choice than getting into a full-blown argument with someone who doesn’t really matter in the big picture.

    • Bill Grandi says:

      I’m a firm believer Martha that making a decision like you made is not only the smartest thing to do in the long run, but I also believe God knows your heart and will open doors for you in other ways. I’m glad you chose to follow Him. And you are right…it really doesn’t matter in the big picture.

  3. gail says:

    I had to chuckle at let’s be burning coal stackers. Some of the scenarios I don’t ever see myself in. However,it’s always tough to remain calm when someone is lying or treating you in a unfair way. By arguing with that person, you just fuel their fire more, you can never win any argument when both parties are mad throwing back and forth insults. In those situations, I always ask God to help me not to be hateful, bitter or revengeful. That helps give me a new perspective on the situation. Turning the whole situation over to God, I strive to do that but I cannot say I have always been successful at that. I have learned it always the best path.

    • Bill Grandi says:

      Not getting bitter or wanting to take revenge is hard Gail but it is the way of Jesus. Remaining calm is what He would want from His people. i strive to turn things over also but know I fall short in that from time to time. but I also know it is the best way and the one most honoring to Him.

  4. Ed says:

    “Their motive is questionable” is the right thinking, along with forgiveness.
    I keep thinking that in such a case time will tell if they are genuine. It’s easy to cause trouble and run when exposed, but hard to win back the trust that was there before.

    • Bill Grandi says:

      Your last statement is so true Ed. It is “hard to win back the truth that was there before.”

  5. Cheryl says:

    I tell you it is really going to take courage to stand for the truth in the scenarios you spoke of, Pastor Bill. I have never seen a society so bent on breaking the will and resolve of Christians. God help us to anchor ourselves firmly at the foot of the cross and cling to Him with all our might.

    • Bill Grandi says:

      I have to agree with your Cheryl. our society does seem bent on bending Christ-followers to its will. We will need more of God’s strength to stand.