Because narrow is the gate and difficult the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.  Matthew 7:14

This is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, yet he has no root within himself but endures only or a while.  For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles. Matthew 13: 20-21

It is the Wednesday after the Tuesday of the election and some believers are forlorn.  For some it was the actual outcome of who was elected in some races.  For some it was some of the ballot initiatives that passed.  For me it was hearing pundits say that studies show that 51% of US adults have no religious affiliation.  (I might note that I went to the Pew study of Nov 2012 and could not find that statistic.  It showed the 74% of US adults consider themselves Christian).  Also hearing and inference (and I might be overly sensitive here) about “Christians” especially “Evangelical Christians” being out of step with the modern country.  Seemingly around the world Christians are being killed for their beliefs or at the very least having to be deep in hiding.  And in this country it can feel as if we’re being shunned or at least relegated to irrelevant in a country that no longer needs Christianity.  We may see this portrayed in the media or it may be right where we work and live, where coworkers or neighbors don’t understand why you don’t go golfing with them on Sunday morning or party in a certain way they do.  Or maybe even within yourself or your own family, where other families might have more to do with because they don’t “have to” give to a church.  Heavy Sigh

So looking at this now and wondering if it is a slope leading to an unseen cliff that this great nation is sliding towards, what is our response?  What should we be doing?  Should we be surprised?  We could withdraw from society or at least those areas we feel are unChristian.  I will have nothing to do with my non-believing neighbor or coworker.  We can strike back.  There have been some who have turned to violence in bombings and killings calling themselves Christian warriors.  We can conform.  If this is where society is going and we are a part of society then we need to change our views to embrace the views of others.  For me I think about Jesus and His life and times.

Jesus was fully aware of the straying of His nation and His people.  Yet Jesus didn’t leave them and go somewhere else or try to avoid them.  When He traveled away from the cities it was often because the crowds were too large to be accommodated in the small towns or cities of the day.  In Luke, when Jesus, on the way to Jerusalem went to a village and was not received there, his disciples asked if they should call fire down from heaven to consume the town.  They or at least Jesus had the power to do so.  Jesus replied to them:  You do not know the manner of spirit you are of:  For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them.  And when to save His very life, all Jesus would have had to do was to conform to the religious leaders of the day, Jesus spoke the truth.

So the way forward for us seems clear.  We are not to separate ourselves physically from the world for they so desperately need to see how we live and hear why we live that way.  We are not to be angry or destructive in our dealings with the world for we like they are God’s creations.  We like they are sinners.  Yet by the Grace of God, through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ we have come to know a better way.  A way of real truth leading to a richness unmatched by any worldly wealth.  And finally, most importantly I think, the most difficult I also think, we are to love.  Love all.  That neighbor or coworker who doesn’t understand me and may have any ridiculed me and my faith is now in trouble.  I could get in his or her face and say I told you so.  Or I could go to them and offer to help.  Help pick up the debris after the storm.  Listen to the tale of anguish that there life has become, without judging them.  Jesus looked down on his tormentors and asked the Father to forgive them, and Jesus stayed on the cross until death.

It is not easy and it is not the way of this world. Yet in John, Jesus gives us these amazingly comfortable words…..that you may have peace……….but be of Good Cheer.  I have overcome the world.

Prayers of Peace, Strength and most importantly Love to you, from Our Heavenly Father, through the most Holy Name of His Son Jesus Christ.  Amen

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