May 28, 2016
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Acts 9:26 – When Saul arrived in Jerusalem, he tried to meet with the believers, but they were all afraid of him. They did not believe he had truly become a believer! (NLT)

Growing up, I was shunned for all the wrong reasons. Prior to high school, I did my best to live with integrity. I knew that God had a plan for me. You would have thought that a good, clean-cut kid would have been readily accepted. It didn't happen. My physique was nothing to brag about. When teams were picked for dodgeball or basketball, the team captains picked me only because they had run out of choices. Neither did my lazy classmates who didn't like to do their homework or study for their tests enjoy me refusing to let them copy my work. Sometimes, I was bullied. At other times, they just shunned me.

Saul planned to destroy this new movement called the Way. After meeting the risen Christ, however, he wanted to share this change with Jesus' disciples. His anticipation was met with shunning. They didn't trust him. What if his attempts were merely a ploy to expose believers so that he could kill them?

It is quite common for unbelievers to shun believers. Though Christ gives me a mandate to love unbelievers and offer them an invitation to trust Christ, I'm often shunned. They want nothing to do with me or the religion that I represent. Jesus said that many would walk the broad road to destruction. He also said that believers would be persecuted just as He was.

Shunning can also come from other believers. Perhaps, like these early Christians were with Paul, they're familiar with my past. They wonder whether or not I've really changed. Can they trust me to teach a class, work with the youth, or date their daughter? Though I'm forgiven by God, my past hangs over me like an angry thundercloud.

The good news is that God never shuns those who come to Him for forgiveness. When I fail, He continues to give me second chances. Regardless of how others might treat me, I can know that I'm always loved and accepted by God.

When others shun you, remember that God never will.

Prayer: Father, we thank You for Your forgiveness and for never turning us away when we come to You. Amen.

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About the author:

Martin Wiles <>
Greenwood, South Carolina, USA

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Thank you, Martin, for sharing your insight into this very prevalent problem.

    Yes, Martin, Jesus was shunned. Christians can expect the same treatment from others, but that only compels us to reach out all the more. Thanks for sharing your testimony. Blessings.

    Hey Martin,
    I relate to your well stated commentary:
    My family shuns me as I faithfully minster God’s Word.
    Thanks for bringing this sensitive topic to light.

    Martin Wiles,
    This is a very fine devotional.
    Keep very close to Jesus Christ, and I pray that you will find someone for your wife who is also very close to Jesus Christ — if this is his will.
    Keep writing.

    Good Morning Martin!
    Your life sounds like a “carbon copy” of mine, (yes I am that old, that I can remember carbon copies).
    But isn’t it wonderful to be almost a carbon copy of Jesus!
    We can always count on Him to walk along beside us, sharing all our tasks, and our joys and sorrows!
    Blessings in His name!

    Martin, thank you for sharing your experience. I’m sure many people can relate, especially kids in school who are not treated fairly because their Christians. I recently started praying for a friend’s grandchild who is being harassed. I pray the Lord will use your devotional to comfort and encourage anyone in this type of situation.
    Enjoy the Memorial weekend!

    Morning Martin,
    I am remembering the way other kids treated me seeing I was a minister’s daughter. Sure I was ignored. The only friends I had was the United Church minister’s daughter. Fortunately we were the same age and in the same grade room at school.
    So the Lord always provides the friends, no matter the age.
    I have always looked on my Christian friends for companionship.
    A good thought you have shared this morning. Keep it up.

    We must realize that sometimes persons who are not Christian shun Christians for a very good reason. Sometimes Christians are overly aggressive and far too “pious” in the way they live out their Christian-ness. And they share a lot of “bad news” rather than “good news.” I would “shun” such a person – or perhaps might confront them with their lack of authenticity.
    Persons who abuse others, and especially those who abuse children, are just as forgivable as anyone else. However, their past abusiveness rules them out so far as ever again being placed in positions of trust or authority is concerned. In fact, if they have really faced their sin and submitted to God’s grace, they will know that they should never again put themselves in a position where they have power or authority that they will be tempted to abuse.
    (AB, CANADA)

    True words, Martin. Been there as well. Thanks for your devotional.

    Hi Martin,
    Thank you for your devotion. I love that story about Paul and how the people mistrusted him and how even the disciples had to “Check him out first.” They really did shun him and not trust him at all. I could relate to your comments about being shunned, as a shy young fellow I had the same problems.

    Our Lord “was despised and rejected by His own” as the scripture says.
    So if we are close to Jesus others will not want associate with us, (even in the church) because they sense His presence in us.
    We really need acceptance from God more than people.
    Thanks for sharing your heart Martin!


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