Is there anyone who’s not accepting the level of faith that you’ve reached? Maybe you’ve been falsely accused of doing something that you would never do. Or perhaps you’ve been overlooked for a task that you’re capable of doing and would like to do. The same thing happened to Jesus in Gospel reading (Mark 6:1-6).
The good news is that even in our native place, where people are most likely to distrust the changes in us, God gives us allies and supporters.
Take, for example, James, one of the brothers mentioned in this Gospel passage. (He was a step-brother, according to the “Protoevangelium of James” written around the year 150 A.D., which says that Joseph was a widower when he married Mary.) James became a disciple and even wrote a letter that was later accepted into the canon of the New Testament. In the early Church, he served as bishop of the Jewish Christian community in Jerusalem; St. Paul acknowledged him as one of the “pillars” of the Church (Galatians 2:9).
And of course, Jesus’ mother was another true believer from the family.
God has a James and a Mary for each of us in our families or home town friends. During false accusations, ridicule, and rejection, we need to spend time with these people. They can identify our gifts and our calling from God and remind us of the good truths about ourselves, not to make us prideful, but to build us up and renew us, to encourage us and draw the best out of us.
When confronted by people who reject us, in imitation of Christ we should walk away from the situation. Jesus did not repeatedly attempt to change their minds. He did not insist that they listen to him. Neither did he stand there and let them hurt him. The day would come when he would let that sort of people nail him to a cross, but not this day.
We don’t like to feel rejected. We want our beliefs to be valued and validated. We also want others to trust our wisdom for their own sake. However, if they do not have ears to hear, we’re only wasting our time. God hasn’t finished preparing them to accept the truth.
Walking away does not necessarily mean that we walk out of their lives. Often it does mean that, but when we’re married to the doubter or we’re working with disbelievers or are in some other way obligated to stay, walking away is accomplished by a holy attitude. Instead of letting them control our emotions, we use our lives — instead of words — to prove that we’re right.
Truly, it’s only God’s opinion of us that really counts anyway. It’s okay if others misjudge you, because God knows the truth about you, and he is very pleased with the good that he sees in you!
© 2016 by Terry A. Modica