These are interesting times to be a Christian. So much information at our fingertips, so many opinions, so many blogs, so many sermons. So many dissenting voices. So much nothing-is-off-limits discussion. Sometimes it seems like there’s no way to put the truth out there without being attacked. Sometimes we feel like attacking.
And, it is so easy to get offended and to offend. It’s almost exhausting sometimes, wading through the rhetoric.
We say to each other, It’s okay. Jesus told us the world would hate us. And, He did say that. Matthew 10:22: You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.
But, are we hiding behind this verse? Say, after we get on someone’s blog and blast them with a rude comment? Or when we put up a Facebook status aimed at a particular friend? Is this how we explain away the cold reception we get from someone that we instigated an argument with last week at a little league game?
If the world hates us, we should stop to examine whether it hates us for speaking God’s truth out of love and genuine care or whether it hates us for just being mean. There is a difference, you know.
Jefferson Bethke writes, “Sometimes people will hate us because we preach the same gospel Jesus preached, and sometimes people will hate us because we’re jerks. Let’s not do the second one and blame it on the first.”
Here’s a reality check for you: guess which verse that Westboro Baptist Church uses to explain why people dislike them so much? You got it. They are despised for standing around holding “God Hates Fags” signs, and all the while they are saying (just like we do), It’s okay. Jesus said we would be hated by the world.
It’s amazing, isn’t it? Jesus said we would be hated for living a life like He did. And, we live in our mean and rude and cruel ways and we are so proud of it that we think the world hates us because we’re so holy.
Oh, humanity. We are really messed up.
I’m so glad we have a Savior.
If the world hates us, let it be because we are radiating the greatness of Jesus Christ. Because people living in the dark hate light. Because the way we live is a constant reminder of the Gospel, offensive because it reminds lost people that they need a Savior. Not because we are mean. Not because we can’t control ourselves on social media. Not because we are rude, bitter-sounding, down-in-the-mouth Christians.
Jesus tells the truth, of course. The world will hate Christians. Let’s just make sure that it hates us for the right reasons.