Loving Those Who Hate You

Sometimes it feels as if the entire world is against Christianity. And the Bible warned us of this. The world will hate and persecute us because it did the same to Jesus Christ. Every time that I go to social media, I see people belittling Christians and Christian beliefs and bringing up examples of Christians who may have missed the mark or people who may not even be truly Christian (culturally Christian i.e. someone who grew up maybe going to Church or in a Christian household but doesn’t actually follow the principles of Jesus). And it hurts to see it. To hear all the cruel things they say, makes your eyes water and sometimes it even makes you angry.

I’m not sure about anyone else, but there have been so many times where I wanted to push back against the people who spoke so cruelly about my beliefs and my God. I wanted to argue and fuss and tell them why they were wrong. But, I had to learn that it was not my job. It isn’t my job to prove someone wrong and God never told me to try to do so. He’s called us to share the gospel, love other, and stand united. It can be hard, especially when I seem to have all the right words and know exactly what to say and how to say it. That’s when I have to count the cost and think about the reaction to my words. Oftentimes, nonbelievers don’t have to weigh the consequences of their words as much as Christians do. Not only do we want to say what is right, but we must do all things to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31) and in love. Moreover, we have to consider if our words will influence that person’s life in a positive way or if it will hurt our ministry. We cannot minister to someone who feels that they were previously wronged, and that’s a soul that is potentially lost. Such a burden weighs pretty heavy.

That being said, there have been times where I have tuned up my fingers and readied myself to say something and had to delete it. Why? For the glory of God. Consider this: what does it honor God to see me say the right things in a manner that doesn’t stem from love? It doesn’t honor Him at all. And when we do the right thing, if we have the wrong motivation, it is the wrong thing.

There have been times too, where I have felt like if I didn’t speak out that I was doing a disservice to the Father. It was as though something inside was telling me, “Can you really say you love God if you don’t stick up for Him or His people?” But then a revelation came to me: Sometimes people want to start arguments just to test how “Christian” you really are. There are people in this world who will mock and joke and cause strife simply so that when you bite back they can point their finger and say, “Ha! I thought you were a Christian, what about turning the other cheek. Not so Christian now, are ya?” And it saddens me to say it, but those people may very well be family members or old friends, not just random people in the world or on your social media feed. Isn’t it better not to respond to these types of people? People who want to know the truth will ask questions, not criticize or curse or mock. So, I have decided to answer questions but not subject myself to ridicule. And every day, I have to pick up that cross and consider how I will respond to that post, that snide comment. But as the days go by, it gets easier to do.

Image of desert sand dunes with the verse John 17:23 on it in the King James Version of the Bible.

Another truth that I wanted to point out is this, the world is so focused on driving division between the body of believers because Satan knows that unity is a perfect witness of God’s love and Jesus’ life here on Earth (John 17:20–23). Jesus prayed that His believers would be unified so the world would recognize that Jesus was truly sent by the Father. Churches are divided into political parties and denominations and by values…this isn’t what the Father or the Son wanted. And most of these divisions began as ideas out in the world that somehow made their way into the Church. (But we should strive to bring Kingdom into the world instead.) It’s true that today, many believers cannot agree on quite a lot of things. Some churches believe that musical instruments are a bad thing, others believe that women should not hold any office of power whether in the church or outside of it, others do not agree with the New Testament or say that when God called something an abomination, He really didn’t mean it. We’ve gotten far away from the unity our Lord prayed for, haven’t we?

When we add all of this together, the constant pushback from the world, the disunity among believers, it reminds me of one scripture. And this is me paraphrasing but it basically says that people will say things about you. We can’t change that. Our job is to make sure that whatever they’re saying is not true. So, when people say Christians lie or cheat or don’t love. No matter what we say back, they will still say those things. Instead of focusing on responding via words, let’s respond in our actions. Prove to them that you are not whatever nonsense they are spouting by living a godly life. And while you may still want to respond or push back against them (that’s the indignation coming in), the only way they will truly know that we are who we claim to be (born again believers, sons and daughters of the Most High) is when we walk the walk.

Personally, I still contend with having to delete messages and smile in love while someone is being cruel to me. But as I said before, some people do that just so they can test you. The question is, will you pass the test? Will our actions and words glorify God or our flesh?

What’s one way you can respond in love to someone who is antagonizing you over your faith in the Lord?

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Helping you follow Christ in a dark world. Helping you keep your head up when things seem bleak. A Christian living blog for today.

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Rise Holy

Helping you follow Christ in a dark world. Helping you keep your head up when things seem bleak. A Christian living blog for today.