Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Hope For The Harassed

Matthew 9:36
"When He saw the crowds, He had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless like sheep without a shepherd."

I recently discovered that the Facebook page I deactivated was reactivated without my permission.  I'm feeling a bit harassed right now.  As it turns out, there is an "option" added to the deactivation page that will reactivate your page automatically after a certain number of days.  That option was not there when I deactivated my account long ago.  So, Facebook reactivated my page for me without my consent.  I feel completely stalked and harassed.  

You know, there are many reasons a person may feel that way.  I've felt harassed many times.  It's one thing when it comes from a persistent web site.  It's another when it comes from a living person or persons.  There are laws that make stalking and harassing less defensible now, but still, there are tenacious people out there who have given themselves over to defaming the character of others, or making their lives miserable somehow.  They usually start with gossip and it progresses.  They are so persistent in being destructive and divisive that I can't help but believe their actions and intentions are completely driven by demonic influence.  Should we wrestle with these people?  I guess it's always appropriate to defend yourself.  But It's important to remember that at the core of our harassment, "people" are not the problem.  We do not wrestle with flesh and blood, but something more sinister, though at times it seems unthinkable that there could be something more sinister than certain harassing people out there.  But it's true.  

So what is the Christian to do?  We pray and wait and praise and hope in God, who will avenge every evil deed.  Oh the comfort this knowledge brings!  We need not "wrestle" with people who contend with us.  It's really more of a spiritual battle.   Eventually, even though people may even slay us, God will have His way.  This thought really does bring peace.  At least for me it does.  That's because I recognize that any justice that is worth seeking will come from God and will come complete with the perfect balance of mercy and truth. 

Did you know that Jesus calls Himself the Great Shepherd?  Did you know that one of the jobs a shepherd has is to anoint the heads of his sheep with oil? 

"You anoint my head with oil..."

Do you know why a shepherd does that?  I'm told that it's for the purpose of protecting the sheep from the harassing pests.  Yep.  That sums it up right there.  And some people are indeed pests.  They are as persistent as gnats, who if left unchecked draw blood and cause infection.  They are people who seem to be going for blood.  We do the best we can to defend ourselves against such people, but truly, Jesus, our Great Shepherd, will indeed anoint us.   He doesn't just leave us to these harassers or the demonic ones who embolden them.  Everything that comes to us must pass through the hands of both the Father and the Son and God removes them in due time. 

Now, let's not get carried away here.  I know that Facebook is a voluntary site.  And I did open up that account.  But I also closed it.  Yet today by chance I discovered it was up again.  Do I think this is some big conspiracy?  No, not really.  I don't like it, but it's just an annoyance.  

However, when there are individual harassers who malign our names, seek to frustrate our plans or interfere with our efforts to minister to others by tearing us down verbally or otherwise, there most certainly is a need for intervention.  And yes, their harassment is part of a conspiracy, though the conspiracy began long ago when Satan set out to destroy those God loves.  Because of this, our defense must first come from God.  After that, we take actions rooted in righteousness to defend ourselves. Sometimes it comes in the form of church discipline.  Other times legal help is necessary.  But in the end, when push comes to shove, our help comes from The Lord.  We leave vengeance in His hands and wait for His justice to prevail.  And you know what?  It's always a good show, sometimes complete with least from my lips, that is.  I do not rejoice in the fall of fellow men, but I definitely rejoice in God's righteous hand of justice.  And I look forward to the day when justice and mercy are settled once and for all. 


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