In Matthew 10:22a, Jesus says, “You will be hated by everyone because of me.”
Jesus was preparing his disciples, and us, for the type of reaction we'll get from people when we proclaim who we follow, trust and believe.
However, friends, I don't think that was a license for us to be jerks and a bit dick-ish to other people.
You have people spew their personal beliefs in a very hateful, hurtful, spiteful, ugly, mean often times bigoted and racist ways. Then when they receive negative feed back, and people push and/or fight back, they seem to be a bit satisfied with all the anger and, often the same hatred, spewed their way. And they tell one another, “Yup, Jesus said it was going to be like this. People hate us because of him.”
Yea… No. They hate you not because of Jesus, but… you know. For being a bit of a jerk.
There are ways to share your personal views, beliefs, and the way you interpret scripture without being a jerk. There are ways to argue, debate, converse without being dick-ish. There are ways to express our thoughts without hatred, bigotry and racism.
Paul said that, “if it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”
But Jesus is right. Sometimes, no matter what we do, no matter how hard we try to be at peace with everyone, no matter how much we try to be good, faithful stewards of faith, haters are going to hate. They're going to be detractors, hecklers, and haters regardless of what we do or how we live.
That's because we march to a slightly different drum beat than the one constantly beating in our culture.
Our culture says that we need to look out for El Numero Uno. It's important that we are first in everything. We kept count of how many medals each country won in the Olympics, and I know that if we didn't finish first in the medal count, there would be an air of disappointment. (Hoping that we start taking pride in being first in other things that really, really count and could make a difference… like education)
But Jesus' taught: the first will be last, the last will be first. And things like there's no greater love than when a friend lays his/her life down for you.
When we faithfully live like Christ, there's something … different about us; something that people don't seem to understand, “Why did you just do that for that person? Everyone else would've just ignored him and went on their way.”
And we often fear the things that we don't understand. So we do whatever we can to minimize the uncomfortableness we feel from things we do not understand.
So we get dismissed. Pre-judged. Ignored. Picked on. Misunderstood.
That's okay. Jesus told us that would happen.
But don't be a jerk. There's a difference in being hated on for being yourself and living out your faith versus doing/saying mean and hateful things, inviting the hatred our way.
No one likes jerks.
And it's so easy to be a great, faithful Christian without being a jerk.