Wow, can a meme sometimes hit you right in the heart! Jen Hatmaker gets right to the point! Are people rejecting Jesus, or are they really rejecting you? Let’s look at that a little bit.
We know that Jesus told us that the world would hate us. After all, the world hated him, why would the world treat us any different?
“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.”
“And you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.”
Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you.
1 John 3:13
It is pretty clear in the Bible that if you are a follower of Jesus, the world will hate you. Plain and simple. However, just because the world hates you does not mean that you are a follower of Jesus. I know I am probably stepping on a few toes here, but this message is important.
You may say you are a Christian and that you follow Jesus, but do your actions say that? You may see that people get angry with you, walk away from you, or do other rude/unsavory things when you speak about Christianity, but is it because they’re rejecting Jesus, or they’re rejecting your attitude?
Let’s look at what a true follower of Christ looks like.
As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”
1 Peter 1:14-16
And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.
1 John 2:3-6
“Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.”
What are these commandments?
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
Jesus gave us two commandments. By fulfilling these two commandments, we automatically fulfill the 10 commandments. But more than that, we show ourselves to be true followers of Christ. How do people know that you are a true follower? By loving.
So how are you showing love to others? A better way to say it might be, how are you not showing love to others?
Remember, love is more than a feeling. Just because a parent disciplines a child (making them feel “bad”) does not mean that the parent does not love the child. In fact, the discipline shows that the parent does actually care. So don’t get the idea that everything has to be lovey dovey. Jesus himself didn’t make others feel that way all the time (especially the Pharisees!) but that didn’t mean he did not love them.
You see, people decide your character more on what you do and how you act, than on what you say. Because you profess Jesus, they decide who Jesus is based on what they perceive of your character. Is your character one of love? Are people seeing the real Jesus through you? Or are they deciding that your Jesus isn’t really all that great?
By acting in love, we make sure that people see Jesus for who he is. They may inevitably reject him. However, we do not want them to be rejecting Jesus, because they are truly rejecting us.
- How do you speak when you disagree with someone? Is your tone kind, or angry? Could you say the same thing in a kinder, less hurtful way?
- How do you act when you are running late? Would your actions portray love?
- How do you act when on public transportation, or when driving through traffic, or when parking? Are those actions perceived positively?
- When you’re tired, how do you respond to your spouse/kids? If someone was watching you, would they see a loving Jesus?
- Think about your words. If you wrote them down on a piece of paper (no body language and such), would they be kind words?
- Think about the opposite, if you took a disagreement with someone, but muted yourself, what would people think based on your body language?
- When you help others, is your attitude one of love and servanthood? Or do your actions/words show that you would rather be doing something else?