Can I be honest? I’d like to go ONE DAY without seeing something on the internet to the effect of, “And here’s another reason why Christians are slack-brained mouth-breathers.” One day! Sadly, this isn’t heaven, where there is no sorrow, nor is it the heyday of the Catholic Church, when you could just boil dissenters in oil.
But lately, God has prodded me to ask myself, “Why does my skin crawl when someone belittles or challenges my faith?” The short answer is “human nature.” Nobody likes having their beliefs ridiculed. It makes you want to lash out with half-baked insults or whine in a blog post to your audience of one (hi, Mom). This is all understandable and even reasonable. However, Christians are called to be unreasonable.
Wait, let me try that again…
Christians should not expect comfort or ease. Jesus hammered this in with his words and life through the Gospels. Specifically, he taught that we shouldn’t expect people to like us. Even he couldn’t avoid spite.
- “Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also.” (John 15:20a)
- “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.” (John 15:18)
- “You will be hated by everyone because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.” (Matthew 10:22)
This means we should expect ridicule and scorn for our faith. However, when you see it coming, it makes you bristle less. When you don’t expect comfort, it takes the shock away when someone laughs at you. When you don’t expect someone to automatically respect your beliefs, you’re less disturbed when they do that very thing.
In short, the less you value comfort, the more tolerant you become. And the more tolerant you become, the more you are like Jesus. What did he do when people spat at him, mocked him, even killed him? Forgave them. On the cross. “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34, KJV)
Let’s use this, Christians. Let’s remember Jesus and bristle less when people hate us. The less we bristle, the less we focus on our own wants, the harder it is to hate, and the easier it is to show them Christ’s love.