Ever notice how no matter what Christians do we simply are not likeable to some people? We strive to live our lives in a loving way, but there are still some people that will portray us in the worst light possible. We must either be exactly like the world, or raving lunatics from Westboro Baptist. Having your views being misrepresented can get tiring after a while. It can be so easy to just wonder if there is really a point to this. Why reach out to someone who thinks I am a horrible and bigoted person no matter what I do? Why minister to this person when they feel I am incapable of genuinely caring for them no matter what I say? Why try anymore?
Living out our faith gets messy. It will not always be a picnic. In fact, when life is a picnic for me then I tend to find I have not really been living out my faith. Jesus got that. He told his disciples that when the world hates them they need to remember that the world hated Jesus first. There is a sense of security and comfort in those words.
This is not to say we use these words to be obnoxious to the world. We do not add fuel to the fire. We do not go around proclaiming eternal damnation in hell to the world with no hope. What it does mean is that we continue to stand firm on the truth, and also shower the world with love and compassion. Jesus was telling us that it is alright that it is going to get messy. It is supposed to be.
Look at Jesus life. He is the perfect example of what it means to love others. Jesus showed love to those He encountered. He reached out to the sinners, and helped them get out of their sinful life. He changed lives from His compassion. He also stood firm on truth. No matter how much love Jesus showed, there were others who were still angry with Him because He proclaimed truth. That remains true to this day.
Scripture says that the cross is a stumbling block to some. The cross is actually offensive to people because the cross tells us that we are messed up. It is a symbol of the greatest act of love this world has ever witnessed, and yet some people hate it for all that it is. That did not stop Jesus from acting it out though.
Living the Christian life gets messy. Loving people unconditionally gets messy. It gets messy because we are loving sinful beings just like us. We are going to face times where we will show others love and receive nothing but anger and hatred back. It is going to get messy because we are going to need to stand up for truth in love, but people are going to hate us for it.
Why should we bother getting messy then? Why not just give in? If people even hated Jesus, then how do we possibly stand a chance?
Not everyone will hate us. Not everyone will misrepresent what we say. Not everyone will discount our love because we stand for truth. Jesus hung on a cross along with two other men. One man who was witnessing this act of love and compassion mocked him until his last breath, but the other man saw the beauty in Jesus act. He saw his sin for what it was, and what is was doing to him and God. This man saw the love that was being presented with the truth. That man entered paradise with Christ.
We get messy because it is worth it. We get messy because Christ got messy. We get messy because there are still people in this world who are willing to hear not just our truth, but our love. The Christian life is messy, but lives can be changed from it.
Don’t be afraid to get messy. Don’t buy into the lie that we must either be exactly like the world, or must be people full of hate towards those who do not think like we do. It is not going to be easy, and I can guarantee you that you will be hated by some for your truth. I also can tell you that there are others who will see the love in that truth, and that makes all the difference.