Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Femininity in the Face of Persecution

If you're like me, who hasn't grown up for the most part amongst Christians that believe in godly masculinity and femininity, then you have probably faced a bit of persecution.
It is possible to keep femininity when others are slandering you for just that. When they mock your skirts or your long hair or your kind, submissive manner, it's usually really hard to not mock them back for their lack of those such things.
In Matthew 6:38-39(NKJV), Jesus says, "You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.' But I tell you not to resist and evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.'"
Clearly we are to accept persecution in a godly way. There is nothing feminine about slapping the person back! Instead, there is something feminine about a young lady who simply blesses her 'enemy' and prays for her; who gently turns the other cheek and radiates God's love about her.
"But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven...for if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the [non-Christians] do the same?...Therefore you shall be perfect[mature] just as your Father in heaven is perfect[mature]." Mtt. 6:43-48(NKJV)
Yikes! Does He really mean we're supposed to love, bless,
do good to, and pray for our enemies? Those who treat us spitefully? Those who scorn and mock us?
Many times have I wished, if only I had not reacted in that way. If only I'd simply smiled and blessed them for it! But I hadn't, and now not only they were sinning in mocking me, but now I had sinned in snapping at them.
James 3:6 states, "And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity. The tongue is set among its members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our lives, and is set on fire by hell." and farther down in verses 9-10, "With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God. Out of the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way."
If I snap at or slander someone who has been mocking me for my Biblical choices in dress, manner, etc, it looks to them that actually, it hasn't done me any good to make these choices, because I'm still just as unkind or unloving as before!
It is vital that we react in love and humility to persecution. It is quite easy to be filled with anger at the other people's actions, which were definitely unkind. That anger and hurt can oft breed hatred and can convince us that's it's okay to slander about them, since 'they did all that to me.' Then we turn and do exactly what they did to us, and spread lies and gossip and slander about them to other people. Watch out, lest you judge them and end up doing exactly what they are!
It is also so easy to fall into the trap that we don't deserve this persecution or why me, etc. That comes from pride- which should not be in our hearts in the first place. We must beg the LORD to take away our pride and self-pity and fill us with humility so that when persecution comes, we think of those in other countries who are getting much worse persecution; we think of those in times before who were tortured and martyred for the faith, so we would not be killed now for believing in Him. James 4:6-7 reminds us, "But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you."
We must trust God that what we are going through is for the best. We must submit to His amazing and holy will, because He knows.
Yes, it is possible to keep femininity in the face of persecution. It is very feminine to submit to His will and trust Him. It is very feminine to not fret or worry about losing friendships, and to show love to those who are treating you ill. It is very feminine to be content in your family's home and choices. It is very feminine to turn the other cheek and bless those who persecute you. It is very feminine to bow a knee before the LORD and thank Him for this persecution and to thank Him for the persecutor, and to beseech Him to bless their family and to draw them closer to Him.
Looking back, I can see that at times of persecution, my faith was perhaps the strongest. Truly, in China, where there is so much persecution, the Christians like to stay in China because they know if they come over here, where there is not intense persecution everywhere, their faith will become stagnant.
I can see that persecution has instilled in me a firmer belief that our choices are right. For, as it goes, If the world loves you, then there must be something wrong with you! Jesus said that we would be persecuted for His name. He warned us! Did we think that when we made these choices, there would be not persecution and that it would all be easy-going? Maybe so, but now we are reminded of our Savior's words:
"These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world."
What a reassuring verse! What joy it breeds in our hearts- that our LORD is over everything we will ever experience, and we have nothing to fear!
Indeed, it is so wonderful to have godly femininity and simply rest and trust in our Savior when trials come our way.
Praise the LORD!

3 comments:

Maiden Meghan said...

Great post, Abby! *Virtual handshake* I'm Meghan! Nice to meet you. :) I love your writing style! Keep on writing!

Mrs. Mordecai said...

Thanks for this great post! I agree, it's so hard to return good for evil. The few times in my life I've managed that have been beautiful experiences, though; well worth it!

Bracie said...

I %100 agree!

However, where you said:

"Yes, it is possible to keep femininity in the face of persecution. It is very feminine to submit to His will and trust Him. It is very feminine to not fret or worry about losing friendships, and to show love to those who are treating you ill. It is very feminine to be content in your family's home and choices. It is very feminine to turn the other cheek and bless those who persecute you. It is very feminine to bow a knee before the LORD and thank Him for this persecution and to thank Him for the persecutor, and to beseech Him to bless their family and to draw them closer to Him."

We should keep in mind that we need the guys to do this too--- and THEY can be very masculine about it!

God Bless,

Grace