How many times do we shy away from sharing Christ, from spreading light in the darkness, from standing up for The Lord and what’s right, simply because we love praise from men? And we make up all sorts of excuses. Among the worst of those reasons is this one… if they don’t like me I won’t be able to evangelise them effectively.
How dare we blame our shortcomings on God. It’s one thing to honestly misunderstand, but to lazily settle for less and say someone else is to blame… shame on us.
While we must become all things to all men, that does not mean they must like everything we do. Indeed if they are not a Christian then there will be things they simply won’t like about us. There’s no getting around that, for the flesh does not like dying to the Spirit.
God did not call us to “Go unto the world and be liked.” There are enough people who are liked, that’s not what the world is starving for. God called us to love, and to speak the truth plainly in that love. He called us to be like Christ.
In our passage, starting in vs. 42, we see that while some denied the plain truth of Christ, others believed. Even some among the leaders believed! But they fell short. They would not confess their belief out of fear. Fear of being put out of the synagogue. Fear of losing the praise of men. They loved that praise, more so than praise from God.
But Jesus encourages them. He tells them, and indeed us, that those who believe in Christ believe also in the Father. He tells us that He came to give us light, so we won’t have to remain in the darkness.
Jesus even says that He did not come to judge us. No, He came to give us life. Now there is judgment, and it will come by the words Jesus spoke to us. But those very same words lead to eternal life! We only need to heed them! It isn’t God’s goal to cut us off and leave us in darkness. Quite the opposite! He came for our good. And all that He did is for our good. All that He continues to do is for our good, if we love Him and His calling.
God’s commands lead to true life. And He has commanded every vessel of His Spirit to go and show the world that there is indeed light. We need to warn them of the darkness they’re in by showing them that light. Even if it means they don’t like us. It’s not their opinion of us that will judge us on that Day, it’s the words of our Saviour. The Saviour we claim as Lord.
And it’s not their opinion of us that will get them into heaven or hell. It’s their standing with the Lord. Are you living for yourself, so that hell will be full of people who like you and were never offended by the light you didn’t bring to their eyes?
You may enjoy your time in the synagogue that is the heart of the lost. But will it be at the cost of Jesus not coming into their place of worship? Has it become a place for the worship of you?
But they won’t listen to me if they don’t like me…
I desperately need to be different in this, and I fear I’m not the only one.