WHAT mATTERS? Does anyone hate you? If not, why not?
When we water down the Word of God in order to get along with the world, we compromise and soften the commandments of Jesus. We lower God’s standards so that we don’t have to depend on Him to do what is humanly impossible anyway, and so that we can boast in our own ability and righteousness. We become modern day Pharisees. But when we promote the hard sayings of Jesus, it forces the world to face themselves with the truth of their own short-comings, and it forces us as Christians to admit that it is only by the power of God living in us that we can do His commandments. This is the message that got Jesus crucified.
An abbreviated look at the beatitudes in Luke 6 gives us some of those humanly impossible commands: “Love your enemies; Bless them that curse you; Pray for those who use you wrongfully; Unto him that smites you on the one cheek offer also the other; Give everything you own to whoever asks it of you.” The world, and unfortunately too many Christians will say, “Yeah, but that’s not really what it means. Jesus wants us to be rich, and happy, and healthy.” Really? Remember when Jesus said this? “And why do you call me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” Luke 6:46 If we would examine ourselves honestly, we would all come up pretty short of doing what Jesus commanded. It is only by the power of God living His life in us that we can demonstrate to the world what real Christianity is. When we do, the world will hate us just as it hated Jesus. Just before Jesus was crucified and He ascended into heaven, He prayed these words to His Father; “I have given them thy word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.” John 17:14 And He told the disciples this; “If the world hates you, you know that it hated me before it hated you.” John 15:18
What matters is this question. Are we compromising the Word of God so we won’t be persecuted and the world around us will like us? Or are we proclaiming the true Gospel which says you can’t get to heaven by your good works, and that it is only by submitting to the belief in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus that will find you born again. He who paid the penalty for all of our sin and sins by His death on the cross, now commands, as the resurrected Lord, to allow Him to live His life through us. When we do this, believe me, the world will hate us because His light shining through us will expose their darkness. Jesus laid it out clearly when He said these words; “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that does evil hates the light, neither comes to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that does truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.” John 3:19-21 The goal is not to get the world to hate us, but the goal is to see sinners come to repentance when we speak the uncompromising truth in love.