Have I ever felt persecuted when I’ve been contradicted?

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This statement has me thinking.   Have I ever felt persecuted when I’ve been contradicted?

Persecuted—a strong word.  Never has my life been threatened because of my political or religious beliefs.  There were a few times when I was treated unfairly by those who contradicted me—misunderstood and misrepresented by those who didn’t agree with my way of thinking.  Not sure I’d call that persecution, though—more like an opportunity for some needed character development on my part, I’d say.

And then there’s the flip side.  Have others ever felt persecuted when I’ve contradicted them?  My guess is yes, most likely.  I recall some strong reactions from others with whom I disagreed–involving words like close minded, judgmental, disloyal and deceived.

But I rather focus on those times of honest, direct and respectful heart-to-hearts, when we’ve come through to the other side with no bruises, no wounds and no battle scars.  Thankful for those precious times when two agree to disagree and still remain open to relationship for the sake of love.

The bible tells the story of two brothers named Jacob and Esau.  Jacob and Esau had a disagreement that led to a broken relationship lasting many years.

The evening before reuniting with his brother, Jacob wrestles all night with “a man” (who really is the Angel of the Lord).  Jacob calls the place “God’s face”, because he saw God face-to-face and lived.

At daybreak, Jacob leaves his wrestling match and moves on to meet his brother.  Upon seeing Esau, Jacob cries out, “To see your face is like seeing the face of God”!

Sometimes God hides Himself in our disagreements.  Sometimes He hides Himself in those who contradict us.  Sometimes we just need to keep wrestling through until we can see God’s face in the face of the contradiction.   That’s not persecution—that’s love.

Have you ever felt persecuted when you’ve been contradicted?  Try envisioning your brother, and your difference of opinion, coming right out of the heart of God.   It may give you a new perspective worth exploring.

Hope: An Anchor for the Soul

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Returning to my room at the Breakwater Inn in Kennebunkport, I see the young Latina girl out of the corner of my eye.  I turn and our green-hazel eyes meet.

“I can do your room later if you like,” she says shyly as she kneels in the hallway with cleaning supplies by her side and tying up bags of trash.

The occupant of the room next to mine shuts her door abruptly.

“Oh, that’s not necessary.  No need to do my room today,” I smile.  “We just need our wastebaskets emptied, if you don’t mind.”

And the next thing I know, I’m kneeling beside the Latina girl with eyes like mine tying up trash in the hallway of the Breakwater Inn.

And then I notice it—on her forearm—and the connection begins.

“Your tattoo is really pretty.  Tell me about it.”

“It’s a lotus flower.  It means hope.”

“So pretty,” I say, and she continues.

“I especially like these lines that come down from the flower.  They remind me of the chains on a clock.”

“Oh, like the chains you pull on a clock to set the time?  So, your tattoo reminds you that this is your set time to hope?”

She smiles and nods in happy agreement.  She knows I get her, and He gets her, too.

And one more bag of trash is tied up and tossed out in a quiet moment of sharing God’s love with a young Latina girl with eyes like mine.

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Jesus never forced his opinion or himself on people.  Instead, he stooped down low to associate with people of all walks of life.  He spoke their language in a way that helped them connect to God.