There are still places in the world – and sadly even in our own country where “liberty and justice for all” is the law of the land – where people are persecuted for what they believe. We are often advised to avoid the topics of politics and religion in order to “keep the peace” in “polite” society. Jesus is telling his disciples something different this morning. He says to them, “If you belonged to the world, the world would love its own; but because I have chosen you out of the world, the world hates you.” That’s rather fearsome language and it’s important to understand that he is talking about “the world” as opposed to the things of God. He clarifies that by saying, “They will do these things to you (persecuting those who speak his word) on account of my name, because they do not know the one who sent me.”

It’s difficult in some circles to stand up and speak what we believe while allowing others to do the same. The question I ask myself today, however, is the “why” question. What is it that makes me reticent in certain situations? Am I desirous of “peace at any price?” Am I unwilling for people to know who I really am? Or am I unsure of the depth of my beliefs? There are reasons to speak and reasons to keep silent at times, but sometimes it’s important to stop and take the measure of my silence, my willingness to speak the truth no matter the cost.