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Teased for Jesus

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Hey you, fellow Christian, how many people have you saved? You know, like taken someone through the sinners prayer and secured their eternal salvation? Or baptized someone?

Me? I’ve lost count it’s been so many. I’m pretty good at it. Yeah I’m pretty holy. I’m super spiritual. Call it what you want, the point is I’m a Super-Christian.

I want to save everybody.

You got a problem? No problem, I got you Bro. I can fix it. I can fix you. They don’t call me Sir Fix-a-lot for nothing.  And it’s not because I’m handy with a saw.

That sounds pretty ridiculous doesn’t it? The scary part is how easily we can get in that mindset. But please, if I ever say that to you hit me in the face. Hard! I do have what you call a “savior complex” though. I want to fix anybody and everybody that God puts in my life.

One of my mission fields is my soccer team. God has me there for a reason no doubt and it’s not just to play soccer. He ultimately has me on soccer teams for His glory. I often pray for the Holy Spirit to make me aware of opportunities to share Jesus, but those opportunities don’t always come like I think they will.

Here’s a story to illustrate my point:

Let me set the stage for you. This was after a practice that didn’t go so well. I either sucked or my team for the day got a good ole fanny whoopin’. In case you don’t know, I’m peeeeeerdy competitive, so I was already on edge. As I walked into the locker room, a discussion that one of my teammates was having with one of my coaches, let’s call him Gunther, caught my attention. It was a civil discussion. And it happened to be right next to my locker. I spoke up and shared a little about what I thought about the topic. I believe it had to do with coaching style. So this wasn’t a really heavy or divisive topic. No harm no foul right?

Wrong. Gunther saw this as an opportunity to tease me. (I’ve figured out it’s his way of showing me that he loves me.) His point of attack: my faith. He “had a go” at my love for Jesus. Surprise, surprise.  In front of almost the whole team, in the middle of the locker room, Gunther went on the attack. As Gunther began to mock me and my faith, apparently others thought this was amusing. The laughs and giggles stung. Oh sure, I’ve been teased, laughed at, mocked, and criticized for my faith before. Countless times.  This wasn’t new.

But this time, Gunther got what he was looking for. A reaction. My pride kicked in something fierce and I was ready for a fight. “Oh no he didn’t,” I thought. I bucked up. Chest out, fist clinched. I knew that things could escalate quickly. Trust me, they have before. I quickly fired back with a verbal jab. He didn’t take the bait. I wanted him to respond. I wanted a fight.

I headed to the showers to cool off.

This alone time was good. The Holy Spirit was working in my heart. When I got out of the shower I noticed instantly that Gunther was sitting at the locker next to mine. I moseyed on over to him, buck naked I might add(I was going for the intimidation factor) and said, “Wanna take this outside punk?” Ok, so I didn’t really say that. Fine, I also had a towel on.

What I really said was, “I love you man.”

He said I love you too. We kind of laughed it off and went on with our days.

So often when I talk to others about Jesus, especially those that don’t follow Jesus or believe in exactly what I believe in, I yearn to win the argument more than I desire to show them Jesus. I’ve learned numerous times, that you can win the argument but ruin the relationship. Now what good does that do? It reminds me of what my dad told me recently.

(Side note: I’m starting to learn that my parents are actually pretty wise. Everything they told me and how they raised me as a kid was said and done for my good. Who would have thunk? I tell you what, I sure wish I could have learned that lesson when I was five.)

Anyway, my dad told me that, if possible, keep the relationship the priority.  If we lose the relationship, especially if that person doesn’t know Jesus, we are giving up the opportunity and privilege to show and share Jesus with them. But sometimes this isn’t possible and/or wise. And in these cases say “adios” and trust that Gods got them… because He always does.

Here are 4 Things I’ve taken away from this encounter with my coach:

1) Be confident in your faith. When you’re a Christian, expect criticism and ridicule for following Jesus. Jesus warns us of this. And Paul explicitly says, “everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12). You don’t have to know all the answers. Nobody will ever have all the answers. But something that nobody can take away from you is your testimony, your personal experience of how Jesus has changed your life. Share your testimony! The more you do, the easier it will become.

2) Forgiveness is hard! It’s so dawgon easy to preach forgiveness. But how dern hard is it to live out? It’s no doubt one of the hardest things in all of life to do. Practice forgiveness. Pray for those you need to forgive. We can’t do it on our own, so ask God to help.

3) When in doubt, extend grace…to others and yourself. Gunther’s teased me for my faith for as long as I’ve known him. I knew that he meant no harm by it. I should have extended him grace in the moment. I’ve also learned that I need to extend grace to myself. I’m a sinner. I’m going to mess up. Yes I strive for holiness, because that’s what God calls us to do, but Gods love and forgiveness has washed us clean even when we fail!

4) God’s in control. He saves people. We don’t save people. Keep sharing and planting the seed, knowing that it’s God who does the real work. He’s sovereign, knows what He’s doing, and He’s in complete control.

Do people tease you because you love Jesus? If they do, good for you. It means you might actually be following Him. And if they do, “Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven”(Matthew 5:12).

Wells Thompson

Wells is a North Carolinian goofball living for the glory of Jesus! He has been married for 3 years to Daphne, the love of his life that he has known since Pre-K (no joke). Wells is overjoyed by the indescribable blessing of his newborn son Declan Wyett Thompson, and in awe of the extravagant love, grace, and mercy of Jesus! Wells strives to use his platform as a professional soccer player to love Jesus and others!

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