“You are not of the world . . .” (John 15: 19)
One of the things that confuses many Christians is the attitude of non-Christians toward them. Most of us think that since we go to the world with the greatest and most important message in all of history that the world would applaud and cheer. For the most part, people are not waiting for that message with open arms. In fact, the Bible says that the world does not want us or our message. They hate us. Hate? That is what Jesus said: If the world hates you, know that it hated me before it hated you.” And, “If you were of the world, the world would love his own: but because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.”
The more you look like Christ, the more the world is going to treat you the same way it treated him. When you don’t act, talk or think like the world does, you are going to make the crowd uncomfortable. You are not going to be “one of us.” The fact is you are not. God has “chosen you out” by his sovereign grace. This concept of a Christian living in the world but not being of the world is a key to our understanding of what it means to be a Christian. When our secularized society demands certain changes from us and from the Church, we are simply being asked to move away from God. We Christians, however, should be faithful to Christ and to his message. Quite often, this fidelity may mean persecution: “If they persecuted me, they will persecute you, too.”
If Jesus had kept his mouth shut and just gone around healing and feeding people, there wouldn’t have been any trouble. But he exposed their sin.
Harry Ironside told this story of a missionary in Africa. In a very backward village, he left a mirror hanging on a tree after shaving. The wife of the tribal chief came along and looked into it. She had never seen a mirror before. She asked “Who is that ugly woman?” When the missionary explained the mirror to her and told her that it was she. She got mad, threw the mirror down and crushed it.
The world doesn’t want to be shown what it looks like. It makes people mad. They can’t take out their hatred on Christ, so they take it out on you. We Christians must remain faithful to Christ and to his message.
Let’s be brave and let us proclaim without any fear Christ resurrected, light and joy of all Christians!
May God bless us all!
Rev. Alfons Minja, C.PP.S.