Saturday, June 19, 2021

On a hillside 29) B8 Truth 2


Jesus' followers provoke reactions today.  When Jesus says he has given the world no excuse he also says If the world hates you, keep in mind it hated me first.   As it is, you do not belong to the world but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.  You face people with God. Some of the disciples would be martyred.

I feel deeply uncomfortable when I consider all the serious persecutions in our world and dare to apply this beatitude to myself. To think that I might provoke hostility is not welcome news. I would like people to think well of me.  And I know how easy it is to keep quiet. But it seems that Jesus includes us when he continues: Blessed are you when people insult you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. He includes reactions which happen in the world we live in - such as insults. I have certainly been insulted when people heard I was a Baptist minister - occasionally in social situations. It was Oswald Chambers who wrote it is easier to be a Christian in a prison cell than at a party!

When Carol and I were involved in a local radio station they openly called those who made the 'God spot', the God-botherers.  Sometimes it was clear they felt what we were doing was a waste of air-time and even dangerous fake news which made them angry. God botherers can make people angry.  We are in a culture that allows us to do our Christian stuff but expects us to keep it in a private box, or in permitted, and ignorable, God spots. On the margins.  It really doesn’t mind us meeting in church and having limited radio and TV appearances and an occasional civic role.  But it doesn’t want people to take Jesus to seriously in real life.  Because in conventional wisdom there is no place for the radical good news of Jesus impacting real life. But Jesus wants to impact others through us. Whenever you take Jesus seriously in the way you live and witness it can make others uncomfortable, sometimes angry even in our easy-going culture. 

There was a poster: IF YOU WERE ON TRIAL FOR BEING A CHRISTIAN WOULD THERE BE ENOUGH EVIDENCE TO CONVICT YOU.  I don’t know how many stories we have of facing people with God who hate us for it.  Anonymous Christians go under the radar.  Jesus followers make people uncomfortable. I think of the person in a toxic work environment full of blasphemy and anti-Christian hostility who bravely rebuked them by saying he was a Christian.  I think of the Christian accountant who was asked to turn a blind eye to some of the transactions that an important client wanted endorsing and not to ask awkward questions.  He couldn’t with integrity do what was asked. He spoke to a partner in the firm and it was made plain that his job was on the line. Oh, I know many do have stories like this.



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