Do you ever feel deflated by what you read or see in the news — or even worse, in the comments below the stories? Have harsh or hateful comments in social media ever ruined your day? How do you respond? Do you take a side in the war of words, or do you retreat in frustration and try to dismiss how those arrows make you feel?
Lately, I’ve found myself struggling with my response to all of the above. Recently, my sister-in-law and co-writer at NextGen Homeschool Rosanna Ward was interviewed by a national TV news show about whether homeschooling should be more tightly regulated. She bravely agreed to the interview, knowing that it wouldn’t be a pro-homeschooling piece. After the interview was filmed in her home, she blogged about her experience and opinions on the subject before the story aired.
Almost immediately, our blog received a wave of extremely negative and spiteful comments (some too trashy to be published), and though the initial flow of negativity was cut short by the positive voices of many of our mainstream readers, the whole experience troubled Rosanna for days. Although we always expect to hear differences of opinion about homeschooling, what bothered us most was that the comments weren’t just anti-homeschooling, but strongly anti-Christian. The problem with homeschooling, according to these folks, was that we Christians are “brainwashing” our children to believe in God, creationism, and a world cursed with sin, and infringing on our children’s “rights” to grow up secular. Wow.
This is just one recent example. Between the news, social media, and situations like this, I’m starting to feel like everywhere I turn, someone wants to punch me in the face because I believe in the God of the Bible, the authority of the Bible, and that what the Bible says is true — all of it. Since when does this make me Public Enemy No. 1?
Of course, I know the answer to that question. Jesus told us the world would hate us because of Him (Matt. 10:22, John 15:18-19) and that although we are to shine with His light, men will continue to love darkness and reject the light (John 3:19-20). When we begin to follow Jesus, we’re no longer “of this world” and we can expect rejection from the world. I know this, and yet I struggle with feelings of anger, cynicism, defeat, and discouragement when I’m face-to-face with the hatred Jesus warned us about.
As I’ve been seeking the Lord about this recently, His word reminds me that there is a real battle, but it’s not a battle of words or wits — it’s a battle for the mind (Rom. 12:2) and against a spiritual enemy (Eph. 6:12).
Having a good argument for every naysayer isn’t going to make much of a dent in this battle, especially if it comes from feelings of anger or pride. Even though we should be prepared to give a defense for our faith, it should be communicated in a spirit of meekness, with a good conscience.
“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed. For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.” — 1 Peter 3:15-17
If our battle isn’t with the individuals who shoot arrows at us, how do we fight the real battle? We must stand on the authority of the word of God and wear His whole armor (Eph. 6:10-20). If you feel like you’re under attack, spend some time studying the armor of God: what each piece represents and how to “wear” it. My recent study of Ephesians has revealed to me so much about how to strengthen my spirit for the real battle.
Finally, remember that you can have peace amidst the battle knowing that Jesus has already overcome the world. Jesus warned us of what we would face, but He also instructed us to find our hope and peace in Him, knowing that ultimately, the victory is His.
“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” — John 16:33
Do you ever feel “under attack” by negative news, social media squabbles, or heated debates with loved ones? How do you respond? How do you think you can give a defense for your faith in an effective way? How can you better prepare yourself for the real battle?
Renee Gotcher @ NextGen Homeschool
Living in the Word Link Up
Are you doing a particular bible study right now, reading a book that is growing your faith or spending time in God’s Word and you just can’t wait to share what God is doing in your heart? We’d love for you to join us and share the amazing Truths God is showing you by linking up your blog posts (or sharing your stories in the comments below, if you’re not a blogger). When we share our faith with one another, we allow God to shine through us blessing and encouraging one another to keep pressing on and leaning in to Jesus. We hope you’ll join us here each Saturday!
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