I have read, and written, a lot of comments on online news stories. One time I saw a comment that particularly intrigued me, though not in the way its writer intended. I don’t remember what the story was about, but it dealt with one of those issues where the reactions reveal a sharp divide between Christians and non-Christians.
The comment in question began, “Hey Christians – if you don’t want to be hated, here’s what you need to do.” What followed amounted to, “Just completely abandon your convictions in controversial but crucial areas!”
Well, I have news for the author of the comment: It is not our goal as Christians to avoid being hated. In fact, Christ’s words in the Bible make it clear that our being hated is quite inevitable.
We live in a world where people act as if any truth has to pass through their acceptability filters in order for them to acknowledge it as truth. They do not like to be reminded of truth that won’t pass through those filters but remains truth anyway.
They do not like to be reminded that “right” is not synonymous with what they want and “wrong” is not synonymous with what they don’t want.
They do not like to be reminded that some things they want to do will lead to horrendous consequences if not stopped.
They do not like to be reminded that there is a Creator who is far greater than them, whom they cannot control and to whom they are accountable.
They do not like to be reminded that real freedom can only come to them when they approach this Creator on his own terms, at the expense of their own selfish desires and pride.
Our task as Christians is to inform and remind people of the truth — the truth that has set us free and can set them free. Whether or not others welcome or even tolerate that truth is not our concern.
Our task is not to be liked by everyone. Rather, our task involves being hated for the right reasons.