This is going to be a bit different than what I normally post. I really like sticking to solid biblical exhortation but I felt like God put this on my heart, so here goes:
We all have experienced ‘haters’ in our lives. I know I have. I have always been very vocal about my testimony and my faith in Jesus Christ. Granted, there have been many instances where I was more stumbling block (a lot of zeal and considerably less knowledge) than witness and was genuinely irritating and offensive. But with time I have been learning to be more gracious and slightly more reserved. I handle sharing my faith with as much tact and love as possible but still some people are terribly offended by it.
The more serious you are about following Jesus- the more you are going to stand out. God’s ‘peculiar people’ or ‘God’s odd squad’ as my Pastor says. You can be kind and gracious but people will still mock you, attack your beliefs, reject you, etc. Sadly, even other ‘Christians’ make fun of genuine followers of Christ that are filled with the Holy Spirit and unswerving devotion to the Word of God. Still others will see good things happening in your life (nm the prayers, tears, and obedience that no one save God sees) and try to bring you down.
I have experienced all three multiple times. I have lost friends. There are people in my own family that are offended by my faith. I have felt misunderstood and judged.
The sad truth is- if you stand with God sometimes you are going to do it alone. The path is hard and narrow. The culture is getting increasingly hostile towards the ways of God. The gospel is becoming offensive to their ears. That makes us a death-like aroma to many. 2 Cor. 2:16
So when people hate us because of what we represent; we can not take it personally. Jesus was hated, mocked and rejected too. Our godly lives bring conviction. It is human nature to lash out at others instead of examining one’s own heart.
What are we to do when we run in to these situations? Jesus said we are to literally ‘shake it off’. Mark 6:11 Pray for them like crazy. But it is ok to put up healthy boundaries. Some people just aren’t healthy emotionally- they are filled with bitterness, anger, resentment, etc. and they will dump it off on whoever they can. It took me a long time to realize that I need to stop ‘owning’ (feeling responsible for) other people’s junk. Sometimes it really just isn’t your problem. Don’t take it personally. Don’t take offense. Shake it off. Let it go.
If someone is constant source of drama and negativity maybe it is time to put some healthy distance there. Those people don’t need to complain to you they need to take their stuff to God. “Bad company corrupts good character.” 1 Cor. 15:33
We need to remember we are not the Savior. All we can do is pray and lovingly point people to Him.
We are called to grow in Christlikeness and to become increasingly more kind and loving and gracious. But still we will experience painful rejection and unwanted ‘drama’. The best way to handle it is to let things go, shake negativity off, be as gracious as possible and if necessary- put up boundaries with toxic people. We can love people from a distance. There are loved ones that I pray for daily, but don’t necessarily share my heart with. It just isn’t wise.
In the meantime I thank God that I am Christ’s ambassador here on Earth. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I will identify with Jesus even if it means at times being judged, mocked, and rejected. “Let us, then, go to him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace he bore.” … “because you are participating in the sufferings of the Messiah, keep on rejoicing, so that you may be glad and shout for joy when his glory is revealed.” 1 Peter 4:13
I know in my life – for all the problems I’ve had; God has blessed me 10 times over with great friends and people in my life. I highly recommend getting ‘plugged in’ at a great bible-teaching, Spirit-filled church. Surround yourself with people that encourage and build you up. Fix your eyes on Jesus and do some dusting!