No one likes to be misjudged or persecuted. But, life brings disagreements between even those who were once likeminded. People see life from different perspectives or through different lenses. We hold values and priorities that can be contrary to that of others (although our conscience holds to universal values). And then, jealousy clouds the minds of those who feel they are losing power or others are gaining the spotlight that they once held. For us as Christians, having stated the truth in a loving way, and then becoming the focus of persecution or mistreatment, we must part ways gracefully and ‘shake it off’! That’s what Paul and Barnabas did in Pisidia Antioch. The Jewish leaders in jealously stirred up persecution. But, the disciples who remained were filled with joy. Paul and Barnabas went on to the nearby towns to continue their ministry. We should all be grateful they did.
For so the Lord has commanded us, ‘I have appointed You as a light to the Gentiles, that You may bring salvation to the end of the earth.’” When the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord; and all who had been appointed to eternal life believed. And the word of the Lord was being spread through the whole region. But the Jews incited the devout women of prominence and the leading men of the city, and instigated a persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and drove them out of their region. But they shook off the dust from their feet in protest against them and went to Iconium. And the disciples were continually filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.
In what ways have I not stated the truth in a loving way? Am I aware of mistreatment that has come my way because I spoke the truth?
God, as this day begins- there are many needs to address of family and friends. Give me the strength, skill and wisdom to be useful in Your hands. If and when I encounter conflict and disagreement, help me be gracious, truthful, and when necessary to ‘shake it off’ when mistreated and move ahead with humble confidence to the next challenge and opportunity You present. How wonderful it is to walk in harmony with the Holy Spirit leading and guiding each step. Help me accept that in walking with You, there will be times my sandals get dusty.