Why Should We Be Surprised?

The media jumped on any rumor to attack Sarah Palin. They were embarrassed (or should have been) by the result. The next attempt, which is already beginning, will be to “reveal” her church as an extremist organization, far from the mainstream of American life.

Now, how should Christians respond? While it is understandable to be outraged by the accusations, we need to keep in mind that false accusations against the faith have abounded throughout the ages. The apostle Peter reminds us,

Do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. but rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when His glory is revealed. If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. . . . If you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.

In America, we have been so accustomed to being in the majority historically that we are sometimes shocked when we are targeted in this way. Perhaps we have forgotten Jesus’ own words:

Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.

Jesus Reminds Nicodemus that Men Hate the Light

Jesus Reminds Nicodemus that Men Hate the Light

I think we need to get used to this type of treatment, while we remember that this is hardly the ultimate sacrifice. As another Scripture notes, “In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.”

Rather than be outraged by false accusations, we should turn these occasions into opportunities to speak the truth. If the world sees us respond in a good spirit, patiently explaining the truth in the midst of false accusations, their falseness will become more evident.

Above all, God is more concerned that we take on the character of Christ than that we seek a redress of grievances. If we do exhibit appropriate Christian character, some of those grievances will naturally be redressed.