Wednesday, February 11th
Alexander the coppersmith did me much harm, but the Lord will judge him for what he has done. Be careful of him, for he fought against everything we said. 2 Timothy 4:14-15
But when Peter came to Antioch, I had to oppose him to his face, for what he did was very wrong. When he first arrived, he ate with the Gentile believers, who were not circumcised. But afterward, when some friends of James came, Peter wouldn't eat with the Gentiles anymore. He was afraid of criticism from these people who insisted on the necessity of circumcision. As a result, other Jewish believers followed Peter’s hypocrisy, and even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy. When I saw that they were not following the truth of the gospel message, I said to Peter in front of all the others, “Since you, a Jew by birth, have discarded the Jewish laws and are living like a Gentile, why are you now trying to make these Gentiles follow the Jewish traditions? Galatians 2:11-14
Not all opposition is bad. When someone takes a position of opposition toward us we need to discern whether they are for us or against us. Notice the difference between the two passages above. The 2 Corinthians passage speaks of someone who opposes the Apostle Paul and is out to hurt him. The Galatian passage speaks of the Apostle Paul opposing Peter, but instead of Paul being out to hurt Peter, he trying to help him. Alexander the coppersmith in the first passage totally represents the bad side of opposition while Paul in the second passage totally represents good opposition. But things are not always so clear cut. Sometimes there is a mix of bad and good and this is where we really needs God's presence and wisdom to guide us through. It is so easy to reject all that a person is doing and saying in opposition to us because some of it is unwarranted. When we do this we miss something God wants us to get. Also, the opposing person will not be impacted for good by the response of our honorable behavior in the face of the unwarranted opposition they brought to us.
Lord, we face the nitty-gritty things of life day in and day out. You know how messy it can get and we need you to help us navigate through all the complexities of relationships and interactions. Lord, we pray you will make yourself real to us in the midst of everyday life and that you will provide clear understanding to us for handling well the opposition that comes at us. Forgive us Lord for the times we are so concerned about what we face in the way of opposition that we are blind to how we bring unwarranted opposition to others. Transform our lives so that we truly treat others the way we want them to treat us.
Posted on Wed, February 11, 2015
by Ken Hart