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Whether we join in, or whether we stand on the side and give support, when we ‘stone’ someone for speaking of faith we act in oppostion to God. 

Yelling and hissing, the mob drowned him out. Now in full stampede, they dragged him out of town and pelted him with rocks. The ringleaders took off their coats and asked a young man named Saul to watch them. Acts 7:57-58 (The Message)

Violence never achieved anything but oppression and more violence. If we were ever to think that the views of faith held by another, that do not promote the harm of others, should be quashed then we do not act as Christians. Jesus never commands us to oppose those who speak against us or to hate those who hate us. The example of Jesus is to love in the face of oppression and to love despite being subjected to hatred. Stephen followed Jesus’ example, do we?

I think that most of us would find it hard to even think kindly of someone who disagrees with us and says so. People who do not accept the validity of our faith or who follow different ways of life and being can be hard to accept. As Christians, however, we are called to be true to following Jesus and invite others on the way. No one said that it would be easy and Jesus certainly is plain about the strength of some people’s rejection of us and of him. What is clear though is that this is not to change our attitude of heart toward them. If Jesus would love them, and have died for them as well as for us, then who are we to hate anyone?

May the peace of Christ dwell richly in our hearts so that we may love those that hate us and follow Jesus even to death. Amen.

September 2010
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