Have you ever felt like you weren’t liked just because you are a Christian? I can remember feeling this way a lot in high school. There was one particular time I remember being with a group of friends who mocked me by playing music they thought I would be uncomfortable listening to. It didn’t end in high school either. Many times I have been around people that treat me normal until they find out I am a Christian. Once they find out what I do for a living, they usually become paranoid and uncomfortable until they pull themselves away from the conversation.
2 Timothy 3:12 says, “…everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” If we are truly living a lifestyle pleasing to Christ we will be persecuted. It may not be as severe as what the disciples faced, but sometimes you just can’t avoid it when you are living a lifestyle pleasing to Christ.
Over the years I have gotten in the habit of keeping my faith from people because I want them to see that I am a normal person just like them. My hope is that I can build a relationship with them without the awkwardness and persecution that goes along with the label of being a Christian.
If you’re like me, sometimes you just don’t want to be seen as one of those crazy, fanatic Christians that get themselves in the tabloids for the wrong reasons – like the guy who sold everything he had, strapped a sign to his car and drove across the country to tell everyone that the world was going to end. Most of us don’t want to be associated with that kind of lunatic. We want people to feel comfortable, loved and accepted by us.
As much as we try to love people and be liked in return, 2 Corinthians 2:15-16 tells us something otherwise;
“For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those
who are perishing. To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life.”
For some people we are a breath of fresh air, a source of encouragement and a people they can depend on. But to others, we are the putrid stench of death. The truth is – we have the Holy Spirit living in us which brings conviction to those who are not living for Christ. The light that shines from within us exposes the sin in their lives. It’s something we can’t help. For some people it helps them understand that there is a void in their life and causes them to seek the truth, but for others, it makes them so frustrated with themselves that they hate what they see in us.
Regardless of how we are treated we must remember what 2 Corinthians 5:20 says; “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.” The Lord has called each of us to represent him to the world. We can’t allow fear and rejection from the past to hinder us from being an example of Him today. We have the most precious gift anyone could receive – the promise of living for eternity with a loving God, free from pain and sorrow. Let’s not forget who we represent.