Here in Northeast Ohio, our people take seriously the command to “make disciples.” We see ourselves as missionaries cleverly disguised as baristas, homemakers, lawyers, bricklayers, teachers, plumbers, nurses, etc.
Because of this reason, many from Cuyahoga Valley Church have faced opposition, ridicule, and rejection. We shouldn’t be surprised. Paul wrote to the Thessalonians:
“that no one be moved by these afflictions. For you yourselves know that we are destined for this. For when we were with you, we kept telling you beforehand that we were to suffer affliction, just as it has come to pass, and just as you know”
(I Thessalonians 3:3-4).
On Facebook, I asked, “What kinds of criticism, opposition, ridicule, rejection, alienation, or marginalizing have you faced for sharing your faith with your family, in the marketplace, or in your community?”
I’m grateful that many from Cuyahoga Valley Church are standing strong for Jesus in spite of the opposition we have received. Here are the responses…
- Laughed at…
- Words such as, “Oh you are one of them, you are a Jesus freak”. She said that often to me, with a great deal of anger. Or, “that doesn’t sound very Christian of you”
- That may be for you, but it is not for me. I’m good with God so leave it alone. Why do you Christians think that you got it right anyway? And everybody else has it wrong?
- That is not what the nuns and priests taught us!
- Cut off by family who do not want you included because of your spoken beliefs 😕
- Being a hospice nurse I have had three encounters this week with two agnostics and one atheist. One a lawyer, one an engineer and the other a famous photographer. The lawyer and the engineer shared that there is something out there but scientifically don’t know what it is. The lawyer told me that he hates organized religion. The photographer an atheist, was on his deathbed. I boldly stated “_____, you are going to meet Jesus soon now you have to make a decision”. By this time he could not speak. I said the sinners pray with him. He motioned his hands in prayer. I believe that my patient is saved. He passed away gently three hours after that prayer. Praise you Jesus!
- Verbal and relational hostility/adversity- couched in accusations of being narrow minded or bigoted- often it seems like misdirected anger toward God
- Forbidden to talk religion in workplace hospital
- Family very liberal…gay family members
- Oh, you’re one of those Jesus freaks
- Oh you’re not Catholic anymore?
- I’m a server at a restaurant and since this past Sunday, am wearing a “I Love Jesus” pin on the collar of my shirt. I caught some of my co-workers walking by looking at the pin and rolling their eyes. I watched as some customers read it and smiled. Not taking it off!
- Christian are not supposed to be human and make mistakes or that would be a hypocrite.
- As a Candidate for Mayor of Cleveland this year I was called the devil. Must say that was a first.
- Not practicing the rituals that were practiced with Catholicism. Why do they not baptize babies? Why don’t they “make” their communion” “why don’t they go in a confessional” “”why don’t they make confirmation” “where does the church money go? How can the pastors be helping people if most of their homes are gorgeous” “how come communion isn’t every weekend,” “why does it seem like the pastors there only talk to people they know” ….and the list goes on…
- My Son Samuel who I Love dearly has criticized me for my belief in The One and Only Way, JESUS/YESHUA! Sammy thinks there are other ways, like Buddhism or others. One night Sam asked me if He would go to hell if He did not believe in JESUS/YESHUA. I told Him the TRUTH. JESUS SAVES! Only JESUS/YESHUA SAVES! I could see pain in His Beautiful eyes at my answer. I felt pain for my Son. TRUTH is,The TRUTH will set You Free !!! I Pray daily for the Salvation of my Children, Lauren Marie, Marisa Lee, and Samuel David. I PRAISE GOD for The Salvation of my Daughter Rachel Eve !!! My Son thinks I am narrowed minded. That is O.K. with me. I hope and Pray He and all my Children see and Walk The Narrow Way, The One and Only Way. JESUS/YESHUA!!!!!!!
- I always get, You believe the Bible? Your one of those holy rollers that think same sex marriage is wrong. Get a life.
- I was born again in 1980. At the time, I was the only true Christian in my predominantly steeped in religion family. For years, I was an outcast. Given the ultimatum of your new church or the family I chose the church. I had no contact with my family for almost three years
- I had a relative berate me because I didn’t believe how they believe and they since have decided to have nothing to do with me.
- Don’t you feel badly or guilty for what you did by turning your back on the Catholic Church?
- When I started going to church on a regular basis in my 30’s, I realized how hungry I was for God’s word, and was going to the classes, bible studies, became a Sunday school, etc. My mom called me a Jesus freak, which upset me very much, and I went into defense mode and didn’t know how to respond as a Christian. Later it came to me that my response to that is now, “Thank you!”
- I was criticized by my boss because Zek and I were waiting for marriage for sex and living together, because “the Bible doesn’t say that” and it’s something that Christians have decided to do so they can seem better than other people
- Made fun as a Jesus freak behind my back.
- People I converse with usually have legitimate reservations about biblical mysteries, be it the creation timeline or seeming contradictions, that there really is no agreed upon explanation for.
- “If you’ve read the book, then you know the rules. Just follow them. It’s not that hard but all you Christians can’t figure it out. It’s hypocritical.” That’s a big one. Also, I hear the idea that we’ve “evolved beyond a text that is over 2,000 years old”; it’s not timely anymore; too many interpretations, no one knows which is the “original” text; evolution arguments, etc. I could go on!
- I was told when I first came to CVC that I could have gone to the other church in our family- the Catholic Church. I said I was looking for a church for my daughter but found it was for me too. Now I get you have great messages at your church and we pray together daily
- I’ve been told in the past that I have to be careful of mentioning too many God or church things when co-workers talk casually about what we did over weekend to ensure I don’t offend anyone. In 13 years, though, I’ve not had any be offended by my faith.
- That faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord can’t be the only way… or often times a person will intellectually agree but as soon as they are examined personally (just like James of the Bible would do) they reject that faith and obedience in Christ is the only way to be right with God.
- We’ve been told we are narrow minded. We are creating self-fulfilling prophesies for ourselves and when these come true we say “God” did it (according to this person, there is no god and we are just creating it all for our own feel good story). We are just part of a club/organization. There’s no real proof. The bible was written and made up by man.
- My husband had to put his Bible in the desk drawer.
- My mother told me you do not talk about politics, raising kids, and religion when I tried to talk with her. She did not want to hear about Jesus or God. Just before her death my brother had an opportunity to share the Lord with her, Praise God, she accepted him within a week before dying.
- I have been ostracized and forbidden to say the name of Jesus to children in the family.
- My father often tells me that is not how or what a Christian should say or do. He says it about really silly things. So I know he is watching, I am trying but not always perfect. I have suggested that he should become a Christian then he would know how they act.
- Broken family relationships, threats, ridicule, backstabbing, and name calling, spit on, becoming unpopular (praise God), and misunderstood. How Glorious it is to be faithful in spite of these things!!! Why? Because the living God Always shows up, speaks to defiant hearts, and overwhelms their offense with His Truth and Presence saving many. What a wonderful life we have in being abused for Jesus sake. Jump for joy. Matthew 5:11-12!
- I was told to put down the Bible and get back to the real world. All because I was trying to defuse a bad situation.
- You name it, I’ve gotten it & in 3 different languages! I’ve been pretty well shunned because I gave up the “true” religion, I’ve been gossiped about, corrected on my ‘bad doctrine”, grilled about the bible, poked fun of because I do not believe in evolution, been Facebook bullied. Many times people are just down-right angry and I have to remember that “those who are unreconciled with God are always angry”. But- it’s worth it all to please my Jesus.
- My first job as a graduate from high school was as a maintenance man at Findlay State Park. We worked a 40 hour week but could alternate Saturdays or Sundays Once a month. When I told my boss I preferred to work Saturdays so I could attend church on Sundays he was absolutely incredulous and deliberately scheduled me on Sundays. He took every opportunity to make fun of me. At that initiation into the world I never understood the depth of scorn he had for me. When I got older I began to understand the spiritual battle the enemy wages when we intentionally share Christ. In my family I experienced absolute hostility from some because I identified with Christ. I didn’t say a thing to them about The Lord but they just knew. I believe we, myself included do not take seriously the truth that a battle rages for people’s souls. We must use the armor God provides. This is suffering that happens when openly professing Jesus but does show the genuineness of our faith.
- Wow….a lot. Mainly at work. I will share my faith by trying to advocate for the individuals with disabilities by trying to request for rides and enough staffing to get the ones who want to go to church so they can celebrate THEIR faith. I run into roadblocks constantly with staff who feel that it is not important enough to take them because the staff doesn’t want to go. When I try to fight for the individual’s rights, I get told not to mix work with church or to stay out of it. I am trying to find a way to pick up these individuals and bring them to church and I am using all my avenues. I have been written up for getting involved and told that I need to back down. I tend to be looked on as a troublemaker and not as a religious advocate.
- It is rather challenging mentioning Jesus because my parents are in a totally different religion. Even though they accept me for my faith they don’t want things said about Jesus.
- I will say this. My family had been the hardest on me when I gave my life to Christ. 14 years later they have lightened up but I still find of chuckle when they don’t tell me about things they are doing because they know I will call them out on it. My nickname is “Moral Compass”. Just being honest I kind of like it.
- Some of my husband’s family was afraid that we had joined a cult. My husband’s grandfather was mad at us at first and asked my husband-why did you do that? You were born a catholic, you don’t change that. We were also called the holy rollers by another family member and all because we wanted to talk about JESUS. In the workplace, I became good friends with a co-worker and one day she interrupted me to say… I never talk religion or politics. As time went on (and I kept talking “religion”) she allowed me to and has been to CVC several times!
- My dad refusing to allow me to bring up the topic of “Jesus” and often yelling if I forgot this prohibition. Of course, God changed his heart in the end but for years I struggled to honor my dad by attempting to clearly communicate Christ with my actions while muzzling my mouth.
- I was told by a relative not to return to the country of my upbringing because my faith would make it dangerous for my extended family to live in peace.
- My siblings roll their eyes at me and sarcastically say, “hallelujah!” Then tell me to, “get out of here with that stuff.”
- My sister gets very angry with me because all her children “who have a good heart will go to heaven.” And if you say they have to accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior….boy…..she turns into a lion protecting her cubs and rips me apart. OUCH!
- “Stop forcing your religion onto others, you not always right”
- A friend said that he believes that when you die that’s it there’s nothing. I said you can’t believe that’s all there is. He said there must be other life out there or we just feed the worms. I said what would the other life out there do or have to do with it. He said he didn’t know he hasn’t read anything that told him. I said read your Bible and start with the book of John.
- Two events come to mind. Having a rifle jammed under my chin as I was threatened by a communist “organizer” in Ethiopia. And, being held hostage in front of a chanting angry mob in the midst of a revolution in Ethiopia. In the second case a short prayer, “Lord, please cool down this mob.” About 10 minutes later we had such a heavy rain we could not see more than 20 feet. The mob was cooled and dispersed. We were safe.