Passion and Persecution

I love the joy of the Christmas season, the twinkling lights, the gifts, the general feel-good of that whole time of year. But I love Passion Week. Palm Sunday to Good Friday, culminating in Resurrection Day ~ Easter Sunday. The whole week is a mirror reflection of real life and it’s roller coaster of emotion. One day we’re happy and celebrating, and then in a matter of moments we can find ourselves in awful ‘how did I get here?’ circumstances.

I’ve mentioned before that I don’t write a new post unless I’m inspired. By that, I mean that I always pray about the subject matter and timing of when I add a new one. Last week in church, which was Palm Sunday, I felt a prompting to write about Persecution. I kind of wanted that prompting to pass, because who wants to read about Persecution? I don’t even like hearing about it, let alone writing about it. Any time I come across any of those verses in the Bible, I want to zip right by them and get to something happier. If we’re choosing movies to watch, my family knows not to pick the tragic dramas, peppered with one calamity after another if I’m going to be in the audience. I figure life is serious enough; who needs to witness tragedies as entertainment? My mantra is ‘Let’s keep things light and happy!’

While that works for movie selections and mantras, it unfortunately doesn’t work for real life. And everyone, at one time or another in their life, will face persecution. Heck, in the political landscape of our country alone, depending which side of blue or red you fall on, you can be persecuted for all manner of things ~ be it for the color of your skin, your net worth, which side of the ‘tracks’ you live on or came from, or who you’re voting for, you’re a candidate for persecution. If they persecuted Jesus, who was perfection personified, they’ll persecute you. In fact, that’s one of the Bible verses I wish wasn’t there. 

Our last year in San Francisco was difficult for so many reasons. We were very aware of opposition, both within the organization and outside, that was eroding the dynamics of the team and our plans for success.  One day in December I hosted a Christmas luncheon for the coaches’ wives, as I had every year. I spared no expense or detail designed to make it special, and had gifts for every one of them. At that time rumors were swirling, our impending firing was discussed in the media, but I carried on as if nothing was amiss that day. One of the wives said to me, ‘honey, you’ll never make it in this business. You’re too naive.’ To which I replied, ‘Please don’t mistake my being nice as weakness. I know exactly what is going on.’ She was taken aback and said, ‘well I would have never done anything for anyone if I was in your shoes.’

Sometimes your greatest moment of courage and strength comes dressed in a costume of defeat and failure.

That’s exactly what happened with Jesus over 2000 years ago. He was neither moved by the accolades and worship of those screaming ‘Hosanna’ on Palm Sunday, nor by the betrayal and manhunt executed for him the following Thursday. He knew what His ultimate destination was. He knew the Cross was part of His Father’s plan to save the very ones who thought they were destroying His life. Little did they know they didn’t take His life; He gave His life. The difference between the two is the reason you and I are able to worship Him today.

It takes incredible strength to bear up under unnecessary persecution; but there’s a special honor in taking the high road. I can only imagine the shock the Roman soldiers experienced early Sunday morning once word spread that Jesus was resurrected. There was undoubtedly some serious partying going on from Friday night into Saturday night, and then the ultimate defeat. An eternal defeat. He wasn’t dead after all. He was alive!

There’s no need to tell you how difficult it is to endure persecution of any sort. But I’d love to encourage you to take the high road and allow your critics to experience the ultimate defeat. It may not happen within 3 days, but God ALWAYS has the last word. As we seek to live in a way that reflects the love of God, just know it won’t always be easy. But it’s always right and you’ll be stronger as a result of it.

Happy Easter!

 

Share

Comments

  1. Julie Schiefer says:

    Amen and hallelujah! So beautifully written.

  2. Julie says:

    Loved loved loved your message thank you for the reminders of how we need to live.

  3. Patti Carollo says:

    Kim ~ Thank you for these words of encouragement so beautifully written, I’ve been waiting for a new post!!

    Happy Easter!

  4. Rachel says:

    Thank you so much for faithfully obeying your “prompts”. Only The Lord knows how many He reaches and encourages through your words (probably hundreds!), but what I do know is that they’re exactly what I needed to remember when I read them. So thank you. You are an enormous blessing!

Leave a Comment

*