When the World Hates You

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Southeast Christian Church
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Acts 5:40b-42 says, “They called the apostles in and had them flogged. Then they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name. Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Messiah” (NIV). Isn’t it incredible that these apostles rejoiced because they were counted worthy to suffer for the name of Jesus, and then they went on boldly preaching that Jesus is the Messiah? Instead of leaving in fear or shame, they were saying in excited voices: “Wow! We are following Jesus so closely that they had to beat us for it!” They lived in a way that shook things up wherever they went. Can the same be said about you?

It’s incredibly uncomfortable for most of us to think about living in such a way. We want everyone to like us. We assume that if we are loving people like Jesus, then of course everyone will like us. But then we remember that Jesus became so hated that he was killed. If we are following Jesus, we will cause disruptions. Jesus wasn’t quiet about the things of God and his life was incredibly disruptive. But Jesus wasn’t disruptive for the sake of bringing the attention on himself, he was disruptive because he came into our world with God’s purpose. He disrupted our lives set on living the world’s purpose and set us on a path to follow him. 

When we grasp that we have been chosen on purpose and for a purpose, we won’t care what people think of us. We won’t live to please other people. We won’t worry about being disruptive. The God of the Universe has chosen us to live out his purpose—worrying about approval or persecution becomes trivial in light of living our God-given purpose. When we grasp this, we can live just like the early apostles who rejoiced that they were persecuted for the name of Jesus and went on boldly preaching the truth about Jesus wherever they went.

Reflection/Discussion Question: What are your initial thoughts and feelings as you consider the idea that the world will hate you if you follow Jesus?

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