Has anyone ever been hostile to you because of your faith? I imagine that many of my readers will be in Western Countries, and most will be free to practise their faith without fear of repression or persecution. We live in places where freedom of religion and freedom of speech is sacred. However that is not the case in many places in the world. It may not be the case in our society much longer. I am always drawn to the phrase Jesus used when He said “the world will hate you because of me”.
What does that mean? When Jesus says things it always is both true and meaningful. So there is a message here. This is not a case of “something must have been lost in translation. Surely Jesus did not mean what it sounds like?” I think it means just what it says. I then think to myself, if this is true, which I know it must be because Jesus said it, then there must be something wrong with me, because I don’t see that the world hates me. Can there be any other conclusion? Either the world must hate me, to be in line with what Jesus said, or else I must be doing something wrong if the world does not hate me. That is my logic anyway.
So either I am wrong or Jesus is wrong. I will go with the former. So what is supposed to happen? Are we supposed to go around getting the world to hate us? Of course that is crazy. But here is the crux of the matter when it comes to hostility. If we live FULL OUT for Jesus, there is no doubt that people will be offended. The gospel is offensive. God is a god of love and the gospel is good news, but the gospel points out that people are sinners and fall short of the standard God requires, and nobody likes that. So people will be offended when we tell them the good news. They don’t hear the good news, they just hear the bad news, that they are sinners and are going to hell if they don’t receive Jesus.
Maybe you should try telling people just that. Tell them “because I love you so much, I have to share the good news of the gospel of Jesus with you, and that is that although you are a sinner and deserve hell, Jesus dies for you to save you from your sins, if you receive him.”
How will people respond? I imagine the more you said that to people the more they would become irritated with you. Perhaps when they are really irritated they will become hostile. This is not a goal of living full out for Jesus, but it is a result of living full out for Jesus. I know so many Christians who are very offended by the radical people who preach on street corners and are very public in sharing their faith. But I think the reverse is actually true. We have become so watered down and weak in standing up for our faith that we are no longer offensive. People like us because we are generally good people. So why did Jesus say that the world will hate us?