by Terry J. Hallock

When You Become Someone's Dumping Ground
T. J. Hallock
I Peter 4:12-19; 5:6-7
October 6, 2002

She was just a little girl and couldn't understand what was happening to her. By his own admission her mother's live-in boyfriend hated her. While his two children had spacious bedrooms filled with toys she was assigned a small bare room with only a filthy mattress to sleep on. While his children were well fed she was hardly ever fed at all. While his children lived a normal childhood she was locked in her room almost twenty-four hours a day. She was not even allowed out to go to the restroom. Her bedroom closet had to be used for that purpose.

This precious child of God had become someone's dumping ground. For reasons that have yet to be explained the hatred of her mother's boyfriend had made her the target of his rage. When she was finally rescued from this living horror this ten-year-old child weighed only 29 pounds. Her hair had begun to fall out from malnutrition and her body was covered with bruises. Praise God she is now with her natural father who clearly seems to love her but the scars of her nightmare will be with her for years.

Peter writes to us in today's Scripture about the clear possibility that as Christians we will also become someone's dumping ground. The mere fact of our identification with Jesus will cause such animosity to arise in some hearts that we will become the object of their rage. "Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you." (I Peter. 4:12).

Those to whom Peter first wrote had become the dumping ground for the Romans. That civilization was entering its last moments of existence. It was rotting on the inside from political and moral corruption. So it sought a scapegoat on whom it could pin the blame. That scapegoat was the Christian community that suffered a terrible season of persecution and death.

I pray that none of us has suffered as that ...

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