And all nations will hate you because you are my followers. But everyone who endures to the end will be saved. Mt 10:22 (NLT)
How much influence has Jesus had on your life? Has it gone so far that people hate you?
When we make decisions to follow Jesus and do what He would do, people respond differently each time. But I don’t remember the last time someone hated me for following Jesus.
Right now the United States is dealing with a huge movement against Jesus. It’s at the birthing stage and has been for a few years. God-followers aren’t allowed to speak about abortion, homosexuality, prayer to the living God in public place, faith, pornography, adultery, commitment, irresponsibility, or things that bring conviction whether in the workplace, schools, government areas, or even with a friend. Those agains Jesus are grabbing at everything to make us cave to their wishes. The God-followers are looked down upon, silenced, and verbally abused. Some even physically abused. I’m afraid to what will happen when that ugly baby matures to adulthood.
The truth is Jesus brings up issues that people don’t want to face. When we decide to “go against the flow” of culture, anger erupts and hatred ensues.
A majority of it has been in reaction of our failure to express God’s way in love instead of accusatory judgment. We’ve casted our pearls before swine, expecting a move toward God in their lives instead of defensive walls to get built. We’ve used Christian methods of obedience toward unbelievers. It’s like trying to measure weight with a yardstick.
But the true followers, the ones who focus on expressing the love of Jesus and His mercy, grace, and compassion have a bigger influence in people’s lives than accusing. Mercy includes the consequences of sin. Grace doesn’t exclude the past, but can include it as a way toward maturing faith (i.e. it’s what I was, but God has made me new). Compassion sees the true need and fills it. Have people hated you because of those things?
All believers have had Jesus influence their lives, whether they are accusatory (and I mean “accusatory” in the negative form) or compassionate. Believers have had Jesus interrupt their lives and got them heading in a God-direction and away from the worldly culture we live in. When darkness is faced with light, it’s confused and doesn’t know what to do because it doesn’t understand it (John 1:8-11). So when our lives are heavily influenced by the God-man, He ends up taking affect on everything we do, and our acquaintances and friends and family who don’t believe won’t know how to respond to it. It’s too much light. It’s overbearing. It’s…confusing.
Do you see what it’s so important to begin with love, compassion, mercy, and grace? They don’t get it. They think they might have it together. They think they understand it. But Jesus is a great amount of light to deal with when all one knows is darkness. So they make up what they think works. “I’m a good person. I haven’t killed anybody. I’m faithful to my spouse. I don’t beat the dog.” And then when confronted with the truth of their issue, the vice clamps down. They’ve been wrong. They’ve been deceived and can’t believe it’s happened. They’re whole world collapses in the light of Jesus. If you’re life has been like that, wouldn’t you prefer to have someone tell you gently in genuine love?
Now I get to the opening passage in Matthew 10. Nations hate Jesus. Those who’ve chosen to let darkness consume them after seeing the Light and His affect on life, will hate. All the more reason to reach them with the Gospel and show more love.
It’s hard. We want to give up and give in. And everyone else is doing it. We’re surrounded with great amounts of darkness. Little deceits creep into our minds about God and whether or not He really is true to all His promises. It’s not easy.
But it’s only not easy because the world says it isn’t. We’re in a battle that way bigger than what we think, much bigger than what we can see. The battle is the Lord’s (1 Samuel 17:47). He has overcome the world (John 16:33). The fight isn’t with them, but with the enemy and what his lies have caused people to believe (Ephesians 6:12). Nations hate Jesus because they don’t know Him. They know darkness. All the more reason to bring them the Light!
Jesus was sending out His disciples to preach the good news, to let them know the God’s Kingdom is at hand. For us, the message is, HIS KINGDOM IS HERE!!! He told them that they will persecute them, to expect it. We don’t for some reason. We take up offense. But we should remember, it’s with Jesus and with not us. They want it to be with us because they can try to silence a voice. But the Voice they keep hearing is much louder than one person’s vocal chords.
So, because we have Jesus, nations hate us. Because we’re like Jesus, nations hate us. Because we stand for something bigger and greater than what is seen, nations hate us. Because we have the Light, nations hate us. Hatred drives people to do inhumane things. But the one who endure to the end will be saved.