Words of Life

When Your Enemies are Closer

John 16:

  • Persecution comes in many packages from many places. we will have trouble “in the world”. (vs. 33) There will be problems because people do not like what we say. (John 15) We will have inner trouble when our fears move us to betray Jesus. (vs. 32) And most shockingly, we will be attacked by those who believe they are serving God. (vs. 2)
  • I do not want to take the easy road of saying that every hurtful word I hear is from people deceived about their service to God. I need to hear hard words as God’s sovereign pruning. But, I also must have wisdom to know attacks come from the congregation of God, yet resemble no echo of the words of Jesus, that I may take these hurtful rebukes lightly. Still, it is painful to know that this can and will happen.

Lord, give me the wisdom to discern between loving discipline that prunes for fruitfulness and hateful speech that discourages from obedience.

VERSE 2 was key in showing me the sobering reality that attacks sometimes will come from “brothers and sisters” in my own congregation.

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