Drew and I used to have a friend that we hung out with. We smoked and drank together with our other friends, and everything was cool and happy. Then one day, this friend calls us up, at a pretty crucial moment, and announced that he had done a most horrible thing. He had (gasp) become a Christian. You really can’t imagine how angry that made us, and all of the rest of his friends. No, really… I’m serious, here. We couldn’t imagine why he would do such a thing, and we were angry, and laughed at how stupid he was, and said things like “It’s just a matter of time… he’ll get over it and be back”. He never came “back”.

What I don’t understand is why we got so angry. It was his choice, and he was happy, and had hope and peace, and freedom from all of his former addictions. And we were mad at him for that. Were we jealous? Maybe. I think we just thought he was stupid. After all, we had “outgrown” that phase, and were smart enough to not be fooled by myths like Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and a God that we have never met, who was supposed to love us like his own child. Everyone has differences in opinions and beliefs, but this particular one drove a wedge between him and all of us, and he knew he wasn’t welcome in our group anymore. If he had announced any other lifestyle change that day, everything would have been cool, but he chose that one.

When I was in my pre- and early teens, I had a lot of friends in church, and spent most of my time there. I would hear about the modern day persecution of Christians, but since I was never around it, I figured that the grown-ups were just overreacting. Now that I am an adult, though, and have become a Christian again, I see it everywhere. When people find out about your faith, they slowly stop coming around, and inviting you out, and talking to you… some try to provoke you, or make you feel stupid, or say things to hurt or offend you. I don’t know if these people are testing me, just to see how I’ll react, or if they are just trying to provoke me into saying or doing something “un-Christianlike” to catch me, and tell me I’m fake, or I’m not perfect enough. Nobody is perfect. Not me, not any other Christians. We are just people who are trying to follow the teachings of Christ, and we know that when we mess up, we can be forgiven. What if we are wrong? Does that hurt other people, somehow? What do they have to lose, that it justifies hurting us to change our minds?