Jerks for Jesus
You will be hated by all for my name’s sake. Luke 21:17
In my drug addiction, I wanted nothing to do with AA or those in recovery. The light of their truth burned my eyes, exposing that which I desperately wanted to keep hidden in the dark. I don’t want or need your stupid recovery. Maybe I didn’t hate any one individual, but in general, I despised those who’d found freedom because I was still enslaved and couldn’t see a way out.
Now on the other side, in recovery myself, I occasionally feel as though I’m on the receiving end of animosity from those still addicted. When the practicing addict becomes hostile towards me, it’s easy to return the sentiment, responding in hatred. Well I don’t like you either!
It’s similar with our faith. In today’s passage, Jesus promised his disciples that there would be those who hated them for following Christ. The truth will always be despised by those who don’t want to hear it or follow it.
The temptation for us as Christians then, is to respond in a similar fashion, making enemies out of those who don’t love us. You don’t like me? Well I don’t like you either! We may even feel compelled to go out of our way to be hurtful to those who don’t believe as we do. Believing we’re on the side of right, we feel that we should be jerks for Jesus, condemning those who don’t follow him.
Sure, we may want the enemies of our faith to come over to our side, but we’re certainly not going to show them any love until they clean up their act. You must look and behave like me before you can come to my church. Until then, you’re the enemy and I’m going to treat you as such.
In both my recovery and my faith though, it’s not my job to hate those who hate me. If someone is my enemy, it is to be something they have chosen, not me. For my part, I must love those who would be my enemies (Luke 6:27), treating them with kindness. Loving my neighbor doesn’t mean just being nice to those who are nice to me.
Jesus doesn’t ask us to be his little jerks. He asks that we love him and love those around us. In doing so, we will make enemies, but that doesn’t mean we must behave like enemies.