Saturday, April 4, 2009

Animosity against the Name

The first time it ever happened, it was as if someone had hit me on the left side of the head.

I never saw it coming.

Never had it crossed my mind that it even existed.

And yet – the first time it happened, I instantly recognized that it was displaced.

Animosity against the Name.

Maybe you’ve experienced it, too.

A sudden biting word.

A personal insult.

A snub.

A deriding laugh and roll of the eyes.

An air of superiority, many against you, solely you.

Maybe it went a few steps farther.

Maybe you were tripped.


Or worse.

In America, Christians are accustomed to a majority status. Depending on where you live … if you’re in the South, for example … you are generally shielded from being made to feel that you’re a fool. In America, if you’re a Christian, sometimes you won’t experience animosity unless you go looking for it.

But not always.

Sometimes you might be minding your own business, or doing your own work, not necessarily paying attention to the whispers and sneers around you. And then it hits.

My first encounter with animosity was during my second day of work at a newspaper in York, Pennsylvania, when one of my colleagues approached my desk from behind and snidely whispered into the back of my neck, “Do you go to church or something?” It morphed into other uncomfortable encounters after that.

There are other times when I willingly put myself into a circle of anti-Christian-minded people – like when I posted comments on an atheist’s blog site. In these cases, the animosity is not nearly as subtle. It’s a full-frontal, heavily-weighted gladiatorial attack. However, I’m not nearly as offended with that type of animosity, because it’s not quite as surreptitious. I'm ready for it and willingly open myself up to it.

Either way, though, you need to call it what it is.

It’s not animosity against you.

It’s animosity against The Name.

“I come not to bring peace but a sword,” He once said.

If you’ve been at the receiving end of the animosity against Him, you completely understand His statement -- and uncomfortably so.

What about you?

Have you experienced animosity for the Name? How do you deal with it? How can I pray for you?

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