Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Called to Live Above the Culture


                                                (Linda and I were in Cancun a week ago.)

You've had people persecute you, right? Some person has come against you, in sinful ways.

I don't mean people who disagree with you. I've had people (in my own family!) disagree with me on something, without a hint of persecution.

I am thinking now of someone who, decades ago, verbally persecuted me. In that particular instance I could not understand what, if anything, I had done to hurt them. 

When that kind of thing happens, my mind is quickly reoriented from a desire for vengeance to Jesus' call for compassion. I remember that Jesus has instructed me to pray for people who persecute me. I am to love my enemies. (Matt. 5:44) This is so hard! I am still too much conformed to the low standards of this world.

What hope is there for me? It lies in conformation to the character of Christ. (Rom. 12:1-2; Gal. 4:19) I am promised that there is a way to live that transcends our culture's hate/vengeance reactions. It is found in living an abiding-in-Christ life. Henri Nouwen expresses it this way.

"You are called to live out of a new place, beyond your emotions, passions, and feelings. As long as you live amid your emotions, passions, and feelings, you will continue to experience loneliness, jealousy, anger, resentment, and even rage, because those are the most obvious responses to rejection and abandonment." (Nouwen, The Inner Voice of Love, p. 14)