Monday: Fifth Week of Lent
How do you feel when someone doesn’t like you?
Myself, I try to think about something else and pretend it doesn’t bother me. Do you get sad? Do you second-guess yourself and try to figure out exactly what the person doesn’t like about you? Do you try to win him or her over? Do you respond with anger and defensiveness?
Though we all react differently, not one of us wants to be disliked by others. And yet Jesus makes it clear that because He experienced ill will and resistance to His ministry, His followers should expect the same.
The defining aspect of life among Jesus’ followers ought to be our deep, vibrant, self-giving love for one another (see 13:34-35; 15:12, 17). This demonstration of love is simultaneously what is so attractive to those God is drawing to Himself (like the disciples) and what is so detestable to the world. The world is the opposite of the kingdom of God, the sum of systems in human society that work against His will and spread sin. The love that followers of Jesus have for one another stands in stark contrast to the ways of the world, and so is guaranteed to stir up resistance and anger from the world. The world hates Jesus, His cause, and His people simply for living in a way that exposes the established sinfulness of the world for what it really is.
The contempt each of us will experience, as followers of Jesus, can be difficult to accept because there is nothing we can do to avoid it if we desire to continue to live in relationship with God and obedience to Him.
What is one thing you need that will give you the courage to face the ill will of others?
Kevin O’Coin is Graduate Enrollment Advisor at ACTS Seminaries and is a part of Jericho Ridge Community Church in Langley, BC.