June 2018

There are times when Christians might and do experience ‘blowback’ for their faith. It comes from
different directions. For example: a reaction from a friend to a comment about marriage, an old
school friend who finds your faith offensive, a relative who is unreasonably angry about your
faith, a spouse who is downright scornful about Christianity, or an adverse reaction from work
colleagues on discovering you attend church. Or it just might be a case of subtle condescension at such ‘outdated’ views.

Campbell Markham, pastor of Cornerstone PC in Hobart, recently wrote an insightful article in the
Australian Presbyterian magazine about such trials, and about persecution for the faith. He
suggested that the best solution is to remember the words of Jesus: “Blessed are those who are
persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven…Rejoice and be glad, for
great is your reward in heaven.” (Matthew 5:10,12).

Jesus doesn’t merely tell us not to be angry, anxious, or upset. He says to rejoice! Why should we
rejoice? When Jesus says ‘the kingdom of heaven is yours’, this is a beautiful way of referring to
God himself. In other words, through Jesus, we belong to God, and are His forever. Also, when we
are attacked or denigrated in some way, it may be a confirmation that we are willing to be counted as followers of Jesus, and that our commitment is true.

So pray for the work of the Spirit in your life, that you might deal with such difficulties as
Jesus would have us do, with patience, joy and love.