Handling Opposition

Dear Readers:

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


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10 Responses to Handling Opposition

  1. barry says:

    Why cant people just let people have their own say, and if they don’t agree with them have a civil conversation with that person. No they have to go right to violence. I will never understand why people have to threaten other people who they don’t understand , agree with or wont try to understand. Why do they have to prove there ignorance, by not actually reading or doing their own research or like i said have a civil conversation. They let the news media do their thinking for them and tell them how they should feel I guess it easier than doing the work for them selves. We live in an age where you can go in the internet, news paper, or actually going to the library. Mark I want to thank you for this blog i look forward to it.

  2. Marg says:

    Not that my opinion counts but you keep up the good work Mark, on your blog and in church!! God Bless you and your family

  3. Mil says:

    Mark, Both were very well written. Your blogs are insightful and make me stop a think from time to time. Looking forward to hearing you on Sunday. Well done.

  4. “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.” Jesus
    John 25:18

    just had to say it, Mark.

  5. Rosan says:

    Mark , I just came back from Jamaica where I attended the funeral of my young nephew due to gun violence, A sweet, loving, kind, and well mannered young man he was. My pain is so raw from this, but all I can say to you is Hang on in there. Remember He who sits on the throne is watching all.
    See you Sunday.

  6. Sugaree says:

    Thanks for all the posts, this one in particular. I appreciate the encouraging words. Your blog is awesome. But don’t get any ideas; we missed you on Sunday. Hope you are feeling better.

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