Vol.XVI No.V Pg.1
July 1979

Hit Me, I Beg You

Robert F. Turner

I suppose everyone has noticed the paradoxical conduct of people who bitterly denounce bitter denunciations; who debate that it is wrong to debate. It is a folly common to man.

And it is also a human fully to glory in being denounced. "Look how they pick on me!" "See how I suffer at the hands of sectarian editors!" "Oh, the price I must pay for being such an astute scholar, and writing things too deep for my shallow persecutors!" "Like all truly great reformers, I am misunderstood in this age." "We will bear our burden patiently—" unless that means "quietly."

During the first few centuries of Christianity saints were cruelly beaten, cast to beasts, burned at the stake, because they refused to renounce Christ. Early literature contains much praise for those martyrs, and brethren were exhorted to repeat their story, holding them in high esteem. But human pride and folly existed then as now. It became necessary to warn that some gave themselves to be slain for unholy causes. The "Constitution of the Holy Apostles" contains this admonition: "Neither let us be rash and hasty to thrust ourselves into danger... Nor let us, when we do fall into dangers, be fearful or ashamed of our profession." Coveting the praise and glory of martyrdom, and believing this was an easy way to heaven, people were mistakenly dying when they should have been living for Christ (Rom. 12: 1). The "martyr complex" is still with us in the twentieth century.

Various minority groups have not had to imagine unfair treatment; but they have sometimes worn a "chip" that invited trouble. And genuine teachers of truth will find plenty of opposition in the world (Lu. 6:26) without advertising for it.

Let us learn the advantage of more positive, optimistic attitudes. Love "thinketh no evil... rejoiceth in the truth... believeth all things... hopeth all things." Manifested confidence in others gives them self-confidence. By assuming the reader wants the truth we are far ahead of a teacher who assumes "those dummies will howl when they see this." Yep! They will!!