That's what I've been accused of. Emerald and I were chatting on the internet about nothing in particular when, out of the blue, she brought up religion. Among other things, she suggested that religion is all I think about. My answer was that my faith in Jesus (not religion) affects every area of my life; I can't separate my life into categories of "religious" and "non-religious". That's when she said that I'm just busy spreading propaganda.
Coming from someone who once professed faith in Jesus, that hurt. Especially coming from someone who once professed faith. So I don't believe it was any coincidence that I've been reading through 1 Peter for the last few weeks. And it was no coincidence that the passage I read the morning after my conversation with Emerald was the following:
Who is there to harm you if you prove zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence; and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame. 1 Peter 3:13-16
Now, being accused of propaganda doesn't really fit my definition of suffering. Intimidation, maybe. Troubling, without a doubt. After reading this passage, however, I actually felt blessed. Previously, in this same chapter, Peter says that we should not return insult for insult, but that we should give a blessing instead. That can be hard to do, but Peter also tells us the reason we can bless people who insult us: we have the assurance of inheriting a blessing from God.
Thank you for being so faithful to pray for us for Andy and Emerald over the past two years. It's hard for me to continue praying when things seem to be going so badly. Please pray that I can return blessings to Emerald in return for her insults.