By Jason Brice | For AC JosepH Media
I can’t help but think about the constant toiling or better yet the process of going from one level to another.
I completely understand that to go from one level to another there is a painful process that is involved. What is hard to deal with is not knowing when the pain is coming or where the pain is going to come from. If we are truly being honest before God, this part of the process is the hardest part to fathom.
The Scriptures forewarn us that we need to put on the full shield and armor of God to resist the evil schemes of the evil one. Jesus knew this better than anyone because he was persecuted constantly for simply speaking the truth. As a human, I often admire as well as question how Jesus was able to handle all he had to handle during those days and times.
Over time it became revealed to me that He was able to handle fighting evil with love. He fought darkness with light. He fought lies and falsehoods with truth. Over time I began to understand that He was not alone in the fight. God was with him all the way. Now even though God was with Him, I somehow feel that it still hurt Him deeply to be treated in such a manner.
What I began to now question is what hurt him more, the persecution or the betrayal. It is extremely difficult to be persecuted because of what you believe or because of who you are. Being an African American, as well as being a Christian, I understand this completely.
Having to always have your culture or your history ignored as well as always having to be the culture that conforms and assimilates to other cultures is unfair. Don’t ever have the audacity to bring it up or talk about it because what will happen is, according to the American culture, you are considered to have a syndrome or considered not to be PC.
The same thing applies to being a Christian. As soon as you mention or try to exemplify a Christian heart, you become perceived as being weak, being holier than thou, as well as frivolous debating begins to occur as to who has the truth. I have discovered that even though persecution is extremely difficult to deal with, nothing hurts like betrayal.
For those who question and say that persecution and betrayal are the same, I’m here to tell you they are different in one vital and distinct way. Betrayal or to be betrayed comes from people that you know, love, and have an affinity for. It can be family members, friends, church family, etc. When betrayal occurs, it is always those that are close to you.
The thing about betrayal is that it is most likely to occur when you least expect it. In other words, it tends to happen when you are in a vulnerable state or simply put, when your guard is down. Jesus was betrayed by Judas.
He knew that it was going to be someone close to him who was going to betray him, but I’m not sure if He knew that it was going to be Judas. I mean think about it…..Here was the Son of God being betrayed by someone with whom He broke bread and believed the truth, shared fellowship with, and saw Him perform miracles first hand.
I remember the first time that I truly felt betrayed. I thought the person was my friend or even better yet, I thought the person at least was a good person. Just talking about it conjures up a mixed storm of emotions as I can remember as if it was yesterday. I was truly in disbelief even though I must admit I was dutifully warned by others.
I remember talking with my boy Nate and him telling me that what he did was not uncommon as Judas betrayed Jesus but at the time, I didn’t know my Bible. At the time, I couldn’t understand how people could act that way and to be honest with you I still can’t understand how people can act that way.
The difference now is that I am more prepared for it especially since I’ve accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. The Bible taught me to put on the full armor of God.
The more and more I draw closer to God and the more I live and walk this life, I truly understand that you must be able to endure. That’s what it is all about! I heard twice last week that perfect practice makes perfection and for weeks I grappled with whether it was true or not.
During those weeks, going back and forth about whether it is true or not, I’ve discovered that it is not true. You can practice all you want but practice will never measure up to the actual reality of the situation. It will never be or even have the realness of the moment. The only way to grow is by going through the process of overcoming your fear and enduring the losing, for it’s only by losing that you learn and discover how to win.
To sum it all up, the only thing that is perfect is God’s love and when he decides that it’s your time to shine, it’s your time, period, point blank, end of story. In the words of me and my boy Al Threadgill, pressure makes diamonds or burst pipes. You make the choice. Win or lose, what’s it going to be?
EDITOR’S NOTE: The Op-Ed is an excerpt from Jason Brice’s essay “Still I Stand” from his journal “Fallen Leaves.” Brice is an elected member of the Voorhees Board of Education, a guidance counselor at Penns Groves High School in Carneys Point, and the founder/executive director of 4WALLS Foundation which specializes in family and adolescent counseling services. His sports podcast Let’s Get It can be heard weekly streaming on YouTube.
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