Ridiculed for Faith
I recently attended a youth conference in a state nearby. When I came home and returned to work and to my friends, I was bombarded with questions about why I believed in God and I recieved a lot of ridicule because of my deepened faith.
What should I say to the people that try to knock me down for my faith? Is there anything that I can say or do that won't make me seem like the "Bible Thumper" and "JesusFreak" that they are actively ridiculing me for?
If people make fun of you for your faith…smack them. Just kidding, that isn’t the Gospel. If people make fun of you for your faith…tell them to “pack the sunblock, ‘cause it’s gonna be hot where they’re going. Again, kidding…
I don't suggest you do either of the two above options. Although, you and I both know, you might want to...it's not right.
Not if they can prove it was you...again, just kidding.
Seriously, though, I want you to know three things:
- I am proud of you for going to the conference and for coming home and living what you experienced (Phil. 1:3). God is proud of you, too (Luke 12:7). The fact that they are ridiculing you is not because you have changed, it’s because they are afraid to change. When they see you now, they might treat you differently, but that is because when they see your example, they come face to face with Christ – and the light hurts the eyes of those who have been living in the darkness (1 John 2:8-11). Keep being the light. If they ridicule you, remember that they ridiculed Jesus, first (John 15:18). Names like “Jesus freak” might hurt on earth, but they sound beautiful in Heaven, because Christ knows why it’s being said, who by and who to, and He blesses us each and every time we are persecuted for His sake (Matthew 5:10).
- There is no way to put the new life you experienced on that weekend conference, into the old lifestyle you once had (Matthew 9:17). The two cannot coexist. I’m sorry, but it’s true. Concentrate on doing things that build you up. Pray more (1 Thessalonians 5:14-16). Read the Bible more (Jeremiah 15:16). Listen to more praise and worship music (Psalm 40). Head over to Church and go to adoration (Psalm 24:6). Do things that put you in God’s path and keep you standing in the light of Christ. This might sound random, weird or extreme, but you need to be immersed in God and in His grace if you are going to avoid the temptations and obstacles of your old way of life. You are not the same as you were…so don’t act like it. You are a new creation in Christ (Gal. 2:20), stay His.
- Know that it is not going to be easy. You see, you have been given a gift from God of a fresh start and a new perspective (Isaiah 1:18, Revelation 21:4). He doesn’t want you to travel down the same path of sin or selfishness that you once new (John 8:11). At the same time, He doesn’t want your friends to travel that path, either. He will put you in situations where He can use you to help guide them back to Him. Stay humble (Psalm 18:27). Remember, too, that it’s not as much about what you say as much as it is how you live when they mock you (Luke 22:63).
Stay humble. Keep praying. Protect your joy. Seek out people who lift you up and don’t tear you down. Read Mark 9:42 to see what Jesus has to say about it. And if your “friends” continue to act that way toward you, what does that tell you about their “friendship”? It tells me they were more concerned with what they got from the friendship, than what they gave to it…and that ain’t a friend.
I know this isn’t easy and that it probably isn’t what you wanted to hear, but it’s true.
This website is a perfect example. There are countless teens who are walking the same walk as you, who have had to make similar decisions and tough choices to keep their eyes and lives fixed on Jesus.
Pray for strength. Seek friends who will affirm you for your change, and support you in your faith walk. Those are friends who will be around for life…in fact, those are the friends who Jesus is sending into your life, to insure that His life remains in you.
I am proud of you and will continue to pray for you.
And in all ways…be God’s.
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