This blog entry comes with a back story. If you go back and look at the comments on yesterday’s blog entry (The Zimmerman Verdict), you’ll see that I got some hate mail. The blog entry you are about to read was finished exactly as you see it about one hour BEFORE that hate mail arrived. Coincidence? I’ll let you decide.
Soviet politicians have never been known for their sense of humor, but Mikhail Gorbachev, who was the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1985 to 1991, used to tell a story that proved he wasn’t entirely humorless.
It seems there was a line outside a Moscow grocery store that stretched farther than the eye could see, Worse than that, it was barely moving. At the end of an entire day, the people standing in line had moved only a few feet. Finally, one of the men stepped out of line and screamed, “I’ve had it! I can’t take it anymore! I’m going to go kill Gorbachev! This is all his fault!”
But twenty-four hours later the man was back in line, looking just as glum as before. Someone asked him, “Did you kill Gorbachev?”
“No,” he said. “That line was twice as long as this one.”*
Do you sometimes get the feeling that people would stand in line for the chance to kill you, or at least punch you in the nose? There have been times in my life when I feared for my safety. For a time, my family and I were given police protection because of some threats that had been made against me. I also have a folder in my desk that contains the hate mail I have received over the years.
Few things will make you second guess yourself quicker than hearty, hateful opposition. I don’t know anybody who enjoys it. Yet, the Bible makes it clear that opposition is one of the hallmarks of greatness. Can you think of even one prophet or great Bible hero who didn’t have to face it? Even Jesus, who lived a perfect life, dealt with it throughout his ministry.
If you’re encountering opposition right now, don’t panic. Evaluate the situation carefully to make sure you’re not doing something wrong. You might even ask a trusted friend to help you see what you might be missing. Then, if you conclude that your actions are honorable, stay the course and let God deal with your opponents.
For further reflection read: Proverbs 25:15, Luke 11:23, 1 Timothy 6:20
*Bob Dole, Great Presidential Wit (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2002), 44