Then last week when I told him to go clean his room he replied, "I'm spending some quality time in the chair." He laughed afterward, but I quickly let him know he'd better get up.....which he did. As he went I popped him on the bottom with the ping pong paddle (which makes a GREAT paddle, by the way!) and he said, "Mom, why are you persecuting me?" Now he'd gone overboard, for sure! He got a stern lecture about the difference in discipline and persecution and a lesson about talking back, too. (Even though I laugh about it inside, obviously I can't laugh out loud.....it would destroy the discpline/lesson. I write these things down so that he'll know some day just what kind of little boys he was! He'll also most likely have a little one just like him some day, so he can read about how we handled his "chronicles"!)
Times of instruction, like explaining the word "persecution" to a child, gives me time to think about how I live my life for God. While I'm most likely not going to be physically persecuted like the early Christians were, I should be persecuted in some way because of the life I live for God. A preacher and friend has always said if we're not being persecuted, maybe we're not standing up for what is right.....maybe we're blending in with the world instead of standing out.
What do you think? Do you believe that?
I know my children have been persecuted, and I was occasionally as a teenager who chose not to drink alcohol when most everyone - if not everyone - did. In fact, I recall someone even throwing some at me and getting it on my clothes....just to make me smell like it. Even though not everyone was drinking that night or I wouldn't have been there, this guy knew that I never did and he didn't like it. When I got home, I told my mom about it so she would know what happened if she happened to notice a smell. No one ever did that to me again, but I made sure to stay away from any places it was present from then on.
My children have been persecuted by standing up against foul language used by peers or shown at school in certain classes. Sadly they've been standing up alone, too. Being made fun of as a teen or child is sometimes really hard. Some times it's so hard teens/children just decide it's not worth it and give in to peer pressure.
It takes courage to stand up for what is right. I pray that all of God's children will have the courage to stand up to things that aren't right. In fact, I believe that a lot of what is wrong in our country right now is that God's children have failed to stand up for things. It's sad.
Of course, we have to be careful how we stand up. We have to make sure we're doing what we do with the right attitude and in love. We have to choose our words, actions, and tone wisely. We have to make sure that we're not doing it with a "holier than thou" attitude, as well. We must remain Christ-like in our standing up.
Persecution, like trials, make us stronger, so scripture tells us: