About a week ago when I posted Faith Tried and Tested, I was not expecting the LORD to answer my question so quickly. An event took place on the same day that opened my eyes to how quickly things can turn into a dangerous situation.
First, I do not consider what took place as persecution or tribulation because of Christian faith. It was more of the LORD answering my question by a trial and testing, using everyday life experiences. Even though I was not the person who committed the "rights" violation, I became the focus of the anger and rage of those who felt I was responsible. I apologized for the actions of those who made a poor choice in carrying out their duties, which was not accepted by a majority of the injured parties.
What I observed from this was how quickly people will turn on you when they feel their “rights” have been violated. They will lash out in anger at those who they feel are responsible without investigating the facts or admitting that their “rights” were violated because of their disregard of the rules and regulations. The issue revolved around rules and regulations of a private business that have been posted for many years. For several years these rules have not been enforced due to the lack of personnel to make the rules stick. It is like a speed limit that has been posted, but for several years has not been enforced, until one day the police start writing tickets. People then complain about getting a ticket because the speed limit had not been imposed for so long that it should not matter if you break the law. The same principle can be applied to this situation. People were angry because the rules were being enforced and they wanted someone to focus that anger on.
Another observation was people feel they are above the rules and regulations of reasonable conduct. If you are involved in pointing out their violations they don't care about rules, they are only interested in how they have been offended by those who enforced the rules. This is the same mentality of those who deny the truth. People are offended by truth when it exposes them as who they truly are. People do not like to be told their actions are wrong.
Another observation was people must find someone to blame to misdirect attention from their violations of the rules and regulations. To try and deal with an issue with logic and facts, which I found failed to resolve the issue was useless. There were those who thought I was speaking down to people. The result was emotions and mockery by those who refused to accept reason. What I found was most of the arguments made by those who scoffed at the rules as they used no logic and could not make a rational case for their breaking the rules and regulations, other than, “I don’t care about your rules.”
People seem to believe that calling individuals names and making violent threats will change their disregard for their violations of the rules and regulations and excuse their behavior. The same is true with the truth. Most people do not like to be told the truth when they are in the wrong. They will resort to name calling, lying, using deceitful tactics, threatening, and getting others to join their cause who have no vested interest in what is happening and turn against anyone who sides with those who have exposed them as wrong.
Another observation from this incident is that there are individuals who are willing to destroy a functional structure of an organization and replace it with an ill-defined hodgepodge of ideas that they think will shift power their way. Getting the community to jump in a do a task has never been successful among those who are constant complainers. They do not have the ability to follow-through with their ideas, nor are they willing to make the sacrifice needed to accomplish the task. That is the reason for a functional structure of any organization. That is why organizations operate under rules and regulations, that is why companies establish bylaws, so they can function within the successful guidelines of a working structure. That is why the LORD has given us commandments to follow. They are for our safety and protection.
My final observation is that there are those who willingly or unknowingly bring about polarization to a community. This polarization divides the public and threatens the success of businesses and organizations within the community. This polarization is not based on truth but on a false feeling of their "rights" being violated.
Here is what I have learned. Just as Paul wrote to Timothy when he said, some terrible times are coming. We are living in those times today. He said, people will love only themselves and money. They will abuse others with insults. They will have no love for others and will refuse to forgive anyone. They will talk about others to hurt them and will have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. People will turn against their friends. They will do foolish things without thinking and will be so proud of themselves. Paul told Timothy to stay away from these people!
The life of a Christian within a community opens the door for mean and hateful action towards them. Jesus warned us that because the world hates Him, they will hate us. People will do to us what people did to Jesus. They lied about Him, they called Him names, they plotted to kill Him, they tried to destroy His reputation, and, in the end, they turned against Him and nailed Him to a cross. Jesus told us to remember the lesson, if people treated me poorly, they would mistreat you.
Even though several individuals felt the need to attack me personally over something I did not do, many showed their support. One lady said she felt the LORD was showing people even ministers go through problems that others face in their daily life and need the assistance of other Christians.
The LORD answered my question. During this week of malicious name calling, protest, and threats, I felt no anger toward those who made their attacks. I was disappointed in those who felt the need to display their hatred towards me, but the emotions of anger and hate were not the feelings I had. I do understand when others are going through a similar situation why they might feel like James and John and want to call fire down from heaven on those opposing them. I am going to take the advice of Paul to Timothy and stay away from these people.
There may be times in our life when we must stand alone and face the devil, but for the most part, the LORD will bring to our aid those who support us and encourage us in the time of trial and testing. It is my prayer that I not forget the spiritual struggle Christians are going through in countries where the ultimate test of their faith is being tried. I ask the LORD for His protection, comfort, and strength for our fellow brothers and sisters in the faith. May they remain faithful and stand fast in the knowledge that the LORD will give them the grace to face the trials of their faith and provide them with a crown of life for that faithfulness. May the Holy Spirit brings conviction on those who persecute our fellow brothers and sisters in the faith and bring them to repentance.