Prepare to Be Hated
I was reading an article today about the young terminally ill woman in Oregon who chose to end her life last weekend. The author, Joni Erickson Tada, gave her perspective on the controversy. I thought it was a gracious and well thought out discussion of a complex issue.
But many readers did not think that. In fact,as I scrolled through the comments, I saw that several readers were angry – VERY angry. And they weren’t just angry that Christians are giving opinions on this matter, they are angry at Christian opinions in general. They are angry that we hold to scriptural principals. They are angry that we believe the Bible. They are angry that we think we’re right about what we believe. So. Very. Angry.
Part of me wanted to just exit out of the site. I only like conflict in fiction. I hate it in real life. Another part of me wanted to respond to some of the comments, so I could convince people to like us. I don’t want to be hated.
We can all see that America is far less “Christian” today than it ever has been. Being a believer used to be totally acceptable, popular, even. But that is changing, and we Christians don’t quite know how to handle it. Some are holing up and avoiding the world all together; some are trying to win the world back to Christianity by accepting sinful actions and attitudes; and some are lashing out, spewing out toxic words and actions, and pushing people even farther away from the Truth.
But the bottom line is that this is what it means to be a Christian — we will be hated. We just haven’t had to deal with it much, as Americans, until now. Ask believers in other countries. They know. They’ve dealt with it for centuries.
As much as I want to be liked, I have to be careful not to let that desire override my desire to be like Jesus. I must love, yes. Deeply and passionately and sacrificially. But I must also stand up for what is right, without compromise. I must be willing to be hated. I must love those who hate me, forgive them, pray for them. But I must not allow their hate to change who I am and what I know to be true.
Brothers and sisters, there are worse things than being hated by the world. Let us not fear it, let us not be surprised by it. After all, ” If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.” ~Jesus (John 15:18)