Am I trying to avoid persecution at the expense of my full allegiance to Christ and the truth?
34 "Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to turn "'a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law— 36 a man's enemies will be the members of his own household.' 37 “Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; 38 and anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. - Matthew 10:34-38
True faith in Christ is very divisive. My mother never had a real problem with my belief in Christ, since even she had been baptized and would go to church often. My mom’s problem came when I started actually obeying Christ. When God began asking me to obey Him in ways that made absolutely no human sense, my mom became frightened and incensed. For 3 years, it was an intense spiritual battle. The more I obeyed God, the worse it got. Out of her own fear, she tried to control me and when I resisted she called me ignorant, deceived, and mentally ill. At one point she even asked me if I had an evil spirit controlling me. It was extremely frustrating and hurtful for both of us. I still loved my mother, but I did not like her at all. She was my enemy and I managed the relationship as best as I could. I even cried out to God, “Why are you allowing the woman you used to bring me on the planet to treat me this way?”
Unknown to me through most of it, God was doing some of His best Romans 8:28 work in both of us. He was using my passion and boldness for Him to pour light into the darkness of her understanding. At the same time, He was using her unregenerate heart to afflict me, humble me, and teach me so many things. She was an instrument in His hands.
After a difficult dispute, I was lamenting to God about my frustration that no matter what I said, or how I said it, she just wasn’t getting it. All of a sudden I had this vision in my head. I was carefully and artfully coloring a page in a coloring book. When I finished it, I handed it to a blind man and said, “How do you like this drawing?” He replied, “I can’t see it.” So I took the picture back and began re-coloring it, pressing very hard with the crayons. The picture was bright and thick with color now, so I handed it back to him and he still could not see it. Instantly, I got the lesson. No matter how passionately, loudly, or articulately I proclaim the truth to someone, they cannot see it until God opens their eyes.
Not too long after that, God asked me to humble myself before my mother. He wasn’t asking me to stop obeying Him in the matters that frustrated her, but to respectfully humble myself to her in all other ways. Instead of defending myself from the accusations or arguments, I would politely walk away. When she asked me to do something, I replied with “Yes ma’am” and then I obeyed.
My mother tells people that next to seeing me actually live what I preach, these two things (not arguing and humbling myself to her) were the biggest factors that drew her to the Lord. Thanks be to God; one day in a sudden moment, while reading the Bible, God opened her eyes. She got down on her knees and begged God in tears for forgiveness saying, “I’m so sorry Lord…I did not know…I did not know!”
Today, the cycle is repeating. As my mother is obeying Christ more and more, she is losing friends and having her mental faculties questioned by those with still darkened hearts. People get really upset when God’s plans for your life interfere with their plans for your life. We however, cannot lose when we obey Christ and trust Him for the results!