There are many things that came to my mind as I was driving by the sign displayed by the Freedom from Religion Foundation with my two young daughters this past December. Being offended was not one of them.
I was reminded of the gospel accounts of Jesus’s life and how He faced ridicule, rejection and often times hostility and persecution as He was carrying out God’s wonderful plan of of salvation.
As a follower of Him, should I expect an entirely different reaction in my own life? Is it realistic to think that the world would pat me on the back for my faith in Him or that everybody would respect and appreciate my choice to believe in Him? I do not think so. I don’t dare to expect that.
But here is the thing. Since I am absolutely convinced that what the Bible teaches us about Jesus, the devil, heaven and hell is true, reading a sign that denies it will never ever shake me in my belief or offend me.
If anything, it makes me utterly sad that someone would choose to live their lives apart from the love of God.
Might I suggest an alternative, my christian friends, to feeling purely offended by that sign? Would it be possible for us to accept and respect the fact that the God we believe in (the God of the Bible) did give us free will and sadly that includes the fact that the Freedom from Religion Foundation is allowed to believe what they believe and display a sign of their choice.
Furthermore, might I suggest that we follow our Savior’s example on the cross? After all, as He was dying and facing much ridicule, didn’t He say this prayer: “Father forgive them , for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34) ?
Would it be possible for us to take heed of what Jesus said in the Beatitudes instead of wallowing in how others offend us?
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. (Matthew 5:43-48)
The choice how to handle persecution, rejection and ridicule (let it be the FFRF or others) is ours.