Persistence and discipleship
…be persistent whether the time is favorable or unfavorable; convince, rebuke, and encourage, with the utmost patience in teaching. 2 Timothy 4: 2
Partisanship seems a sign of the times, right? Things can be downright bleak when we see how our politicians and the media, frankly, take positions that are so far from what we think is right, reasonable, and helpful. Our reaction to those “on the other side of the aisle,” as they say, is to either attack or throw up our hands and walk away. Don’t think I am immune to these feelings because, I can assure you, I am very familiar with them. In many ways we have, as Christians, lost our compass, relative to Paul’s words above. We are baptized into the faith and community of the Holy One who was crucified for us all and rose in triumph for the salvation of all of His children. How can we turn away or, worse yet, begin to deny the humanity of our fellow creatures that God has made?
Paul, who knew something about controversy and persecution (he had been on both “sides of the aisle” during his time), wrote the words above for his young disciple Timothy. He called on all people that would call themselves a follower of Jesus to be persistent (and consistent), even when things went sideways. He said that we might convince or rebuke but we are to always encourage “with utmost patience.” We cannot fear speaking truth to those who are struggling with it while always remembering Pilate’s word to Jesus: what is truth? Is our truth of the saving and unbounded love and mercy of Jesus Christ? How do we proclaim that love in the public square with those with whom we disagree? How can we be a teacher without becoming overbearing or arrogant? I am not sure I have the answers. Less time on Facebook or Twitter cannot hurt! Christ does not call us to throw in the towel when confronted with challenges but to face them, head on. But we cannot forget to whom we, as Christ’s disciples, belong and that persistence, with faith and patience, giving glory to God in all things, is who we must strive to be.