Don’t be Surprised by Conflict

Many Christians today bewail the treatment by members of the media or legal system, through which our rights as Americans seem to be eroding away. My blog today isn’t about politics, and I won’t even comment on whether or not our rights should or shouldn’t be taken away as faithful Orthodox Christians.

Today, I invite you to consider the words of Saint Paul (you can read the entire passage below) and ask yourself, “Who is my father?” In the passage below, St Paul is referring to himself as their spiritual father to lead them to Christ. Today, I invite you to consider your heavenly Father and embrace the challenges of living in a secular world which sometimes does and other times does not honor God.

Our society continues to fight the war about which St Paul also referred to when he said, “For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do.” (Romans 7.15) Our society wrestles with whether or not to do the will of God. We invoke God’s will, and the Holy Scripture in defense of the poor, but refuse them in defense of marriage. All the time, we ignore the profound statement made by St Paul, “All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful.” (1 Corinthians 6.12)

Truth be told, as Christians we will encounter those who persecute us, those who ridicule us, and those who try even to kill us (or at least take our money which in 21st century America is just about the same thing), but all is not for naught. God has sent us spiritual fathers and mothers to guide us through the Church. We can trust them to lead us to Him, but not without first encountering a few obstacles.

By the way, the next time you encounter a “Sola Scriptura” Christians who cry out, “Call no man father,” (Matthew 23.9) remind them of today’s reading by St Paul who declare, “For I became your father.”

Brethren, God has exhibited us apostles as last of all, like men sentenced to death; because we have become a spectacle to the world, to angels and to men. We are fools for Christ's sake, but you are wise in Christ. We are weak, but you are strong. You are held in honor, but we in disrepute. To the present hour we hunger and thirst, we are ill-clad and buffeted and homeless, and we labor, working with our own hands. When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; when slandered, we try to conciliate; we have become, and are now, as the refuse of the world, the off-scouring of all things. I do not write this to make you ashamed, but to admonish you as my beloved children. For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel. I urge you, then, be imitators of me. - First Corinthians 4.9-16