The past decade or so has seen a drastic shift in social behavior toward Christians. Lawsuits continue to be filed against those who refuse to offer services, claiming the service is against their faith. There is a growing public outcry from Christians that this treatment is unfair.

The Lord said to his disciples, “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. Beware of men; for they will deliver you up to councils, and flog you in their synagogues, and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear testimony before them and the Gentiles. When they deliver you up, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say; for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. Brother will deliver up brother to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death; and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved.”

Matthew 10:16-22

In today’s reading to commemorate Saint Theodore the Great Commander, we see what happens when ‘social elites’ do not like what is being said by others. Claiming to ‘stand up’ for God, the elites were willing to stone Jesus Christ, but it never stopped him from preaching.

There is a great difference between Jesus, of course, and today’s Christians wanting to stand up for their faith. Jesus and the martyrs willingly accepted the consequences of their preaching and actions. They didn’t allow the social pressure to stop them. They remained faithful.

Today seems to be a different situation, at least here in America. We have become accustomed to our freedoms, so when we are threatened with backlash for our beliefs, we cry foul. We seem to have forgotten the warning from Christ in today’s reading. ‘Everyone’ will rise up against us.

It isn’t from a position of faith that we cry foul, but from a position of entitlement. Since we have lived in a ‘more or less’ Christian society, our behaviors and beliefs have been reinforced by social norms. Things have shifted. That isn’t ‘news’ and shouldn’t be a surprise.

As Christians we are not entitled to anything from society. From the beginning, being a Christians meant being counterculture. Now, we are experiencing what the ancient Church experienced. If our beliefs are shared, then we are left alone. If not, there are consequences.

If you are faced with a behavior that you feel betrays your faith in Christ, I advise you to speak with your spiritual father. He will help you decipher the situation. You may be misunderstanding the situation, or you may simply be wrong. Either way, there will be consequences for sure.

When you choose to stand up against social norms, expect the social consequences. The saints accepted their tortures with pious faith. They didn’t cry foul. Their dignified acceptance of their pain is what drew many to Christ, not their entitlement. Be dignified, not entitled.

I have written about this before. I don’t see physical persecution in the near future in America. Financial and social persecution has already begun. People have already started to lose their jobs and businesses have been threatened. How we accept the consequences reveals faith.

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