You see it more and more in America. Christians are coming under attack from groups trying to silence us. Click here for one of the latest examples I have found of groups trying to silence Christians. Individuals and organizations are being told that they cannot publicly speak about their faith and relationship with Jesus. And the more this happens, the more shock and surprise I see from my fellow Christians. I include myself in this category of surprise at times. But should it really surprise us that the world hates us for standing for our beliefs and our relationship with Christ? The more I think about it, the more I think we should be surprised when we aren’t being attacked for our beliefs. Why should we be surprised if we are not being attacked by individuals and organizations? If we are truly living the way Christ has called us to live, and we have the ongoing, life-changing relationship with Him that we should, then we should expect to be attacked.
Jesus himself tells us that the world will hate us. Since it is Good Friday, I have been reading through the Gospel accounts of what is known as Holy Week. This includes the events that take place between the Triumphal Entry the week before Jesus’ crucifixion and His resurrection and ascension. Today, my devotions led me to the Gospel of Mark, reading chapters 11-16. While reading through the Holy Week account from Mark, this thought hit me again like a ton of bricks. I have often said that as American Christians, I’m not sure that it is a good thing that we don’t face some persecution or attacks from others. Not facing persecution can make it easy to just go through the motions, which leads to a faith that may not be a true faith. Then I came across what Jesus tells His disciples (and us) in Mark 13:9-13. He states, “But be on your guard; for they will deliver you to the courts, and you will be flogged in the synagogues, and you will stand before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them. The gospel must first be preached to all the nations. When they arrest you and hand you over, do not worry beforehand about what you are to say, but say whatever is given you in that hour; for it is not you who speak, but it is the Holy Spirit. Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and have them put to death. You will be hated by all because of My name, but the one who endures to the end, he will be saved.” (NASB translation, italics added by me for emphasis).
So, according to Jesus’ own words, we will be hated by all because of our relationship with Him. Our lives should look so different from the rest of the world that they should realize that something is different. If we are not just going through the motions of Christianity, and are actually living out a true relationship with Christ, then the world is going to notice. And the world won’t necessarily like what it sees in us. The article I linked to earlier shows that an organization is after Clemson and Dabo Swinney, but what I was struck by the most were the comments by readers bashing what Swinney is doing at Clemson in sharing his faith. But in all reality, this shouldn’t surprise anyone that this is taking place. All of this means that being a true Christian is not always going to be an easy life. Jesus never promised easy or safe, but He did leave us with a great promise recorded at the end of the Gospel of Matthew. After His resurrection, He left His disciples with a command in Matthew 28:18-20, including a promise that should make a true relationship with Him a beautiful thing. It states, “And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.‘” (NASB translation, italics added by me for emphasis).
This means that we will face darkness in this world, especially if we are living in a loving relationship with our Savior. But He promises us that He will be with us, and those that endure will be saved. We face the darkness of Jesus crucified on Good Friday. This is a somber day, but as one of my favorite college professors would say when talking about trouble in this world, “It’s Friday, but SUNDAY’S coming!” (Jon Weatherly).