If the way the church attempts to garner the world’s validation were not so utterly tragic, it would be outright humorous. Each time, I can’t help but think back to my own school days and how the nerdy kids would try to get close to the cool kids, and get their approval or be accepted into their inner circle.
No, I wasn’t one of the cool kids, but I had enough presence of mind and self-awareness to not care about the approval of my peers, be they football players or cheerleaders.
We’re batting our eyes and ‘doing the world’s homework’ just hoping they invite us to their next party, or walk down the hall with us during recess. The fact that the world has abused, belittled, mocked, denigrated, bullied, and marginalized the household of faith for as far back as one can remember doesn’t seem to be computing, and with each passing day we are trying to find reasons as to why we should still support worldly corporations, worldly athletes, or worldly movie stars with our hard earned money, even though we know better.
Either we are blatant sadists, screaming ‘thank you sir, may I have another’ as the world punches us in the throat repeatedly, or we are so afraid of being hated, we are willing to do absolutely anything just to keep the peace.
For some unexplained reason, I believe, today’s average believer has an aversion to being hated, and they will do almost anything to avoid being singled out and disliked by the world.
Other groups seem to have no qualms with being hated, and though their cause is less than honorable, and their behavior less than civil, they revel in the notion that they’ve successfully pushed someone’s buttons and they’ve reacted in a certain way.
It is elementary knowledge that Jesus forewarned us we would be hated by the world. He even went so far as to tell us why we would be hated, and implied that if the world hated us they did so because they saw Him in in us, which is a glorious, glorious thing.
To try and sidestep being hated, is in effect trying to minimize the light of Christ in you, or at least camouflage it to such an extent wherein the world will think you are one of their own.
As is the case with many words in our modern age, we’ve diluted the true meaning of the word hate, and in having done so, whenever we contemplate the reality of what Jesus said in regards to the world and their reaction toward us, we don’t fully understand what will soon transpire.
When Jesus spoke of the world hating Him, He did not mean that they stopped inviting Him to the family barbecues, unfriended Him on Facebook, or walked away mid-conversation because of something He’d said.
When Jesus spoke of hate, it was with the full knowledge that men were actively plotting His murder, bribing one closest to Him to betray Him, and spreading lies regarding His character and person.
The world will hate you with the selfsame illogical, maniacal, single-minded hatred with which they hated Jesus, and knowing this beforehand keeps us from being shocked or stunned when this does come to pass.
It is not a matter of if; it is a matter of when. Jesus did not exaggerate; He did not embellish or otherwise inflate what we would have to contend with for the sake of making it seem exciting. Jesus spoke truth even when the truth He spoke was difficult to receive or accept.
In love, Christ forewarned those who would follow after Him that they would be hated because He was hated, by a world growing increasingly averse to the light of Jesus with each passing day.
1 Peter 4:112-13, “Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified.”
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.