Don't mention Jesus
"What's church and state, Mom," asked seven-year old Sallie.
"Why do you ask?" answered her mother.
"My teacher told me to keep them apart and not talk about Jesus. She said I should save that talk for Sundays."
The rule made no sense to Sallie. Jesus was special to her every day-not just on Sundays. And she knew God wanted her to tell others. Yet she didn't like to break rules. So when she wanted to bring her Bible for "sharing day" at her elementary school in Los Altos, California, she felt anxious. It might upset her teacher. In the end, she decided not to bring it.
One of her classmates brought a small Buddha statue for the sharing time. The teacher didn't seem to mind the Buddhist religion.
Sallie's mother was in the classroom for a Thanksgiving celebration when the teacher asked all the students to say in one word what they were grateful for. Sallie raised her hand right away. She was thankful for Jesus. But the teacher ignored her hand and called on all the others. Finally, at the very end, she let Sallie say her special word. The teacher seemed irritated, and Sallie felt sad.
One day, when Sallie was talking about Jesus with a classmate who had come to her Vacation Bible School, the principal came by and heard some of their conversation.
"Don't talk about Jesus so much," he told her.
Sallie felt confused. "But Kara needs to hear about Him." she said. She knew that her friend was hurting.
Sallie could read and write well. But she scored low on the new tests that show how well children are accepting the beliefs and values of other cultures. She trusted the Bible, and it told her to shun other gods and spirits. Therefore, she couldn't enjoy the myths and rituals of other religions.
In other words, she wasn't learning to think like her group. So the school assigned her to a special counselor who would try to change her thinking. She wanted Sallie to accept the new ideas about God, unity, and the world.
"She doesn't smile, Mommy," said Sallie, who felt uncomfortable in her counselor's presence.
Soon afterwards, Sallie's parents decided to let her go to a Christian school. Sallie misses her friends, but she thanks God for her freedom to talk about Jesus with her new friends and teachers.
Jesus isn't surprised at the growing hostility toward Christians. He told us to expect it:
"If they persecute me; they will persecute you because they do not know the One who sent me." (John 15:20-21)
If you trust and follow Him, the people who reject your Lord will probably reject you also. Are you ready to follow Jesus-even when it hurts?
Let's talk about it
1. What did Jesus say about persecution?
2. How does John 15:18-21 help you understand what happened to Sallie at her school?
3. How did Sallie show her love for God?
4. In Joshua 1:9, what does God promise those who are faithful to Him?
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake.... Rejoice and be exceedingly glad...” Matthew 5:10,12