“A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. It is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more will they malign those of his household?” Matthew 10:24-25 (ESV)
How’s that for branding? Jesus said that if we truly lived our calling as disciples, it wouldn’t result in the world liking us more, but in them hating us more. In fact, the Scriptures tell us if the world likes us too much, it should call into question our Christian commitment:
You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore, whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. James 4:4 (ESV)
This is why I question our obsession over our reputation or opinion in the larger culture.
The Bible says that the more try to be liked, the farther we move from friendship with God. Now to be sure, sometimes Christians are disliked not for their Christian witness, but because they are jerks. They don’t radiate with the love of Christ.
But quite often, Christians are disliked…because they are Christians.
So we can change our church styles, we can do more works in the community, we can even call ourselves “Christ followers” (all good things to do), and yet, still, the world will hate us. Why? Because as Romans 8:7 says, the unredeemed mind is “hostile to God.” First Corinthians 2:14 says that the carnal or fleshly mind “cannot discern” the things of God.
This explains media bias against Christians. This explains why your neighbor thinks you are plumb crazy for going to church. This explains why our belief that Jesus is the only way really hacks people off.
So how should this inform our faith?