Friday, 12 August 2016

Smile, And The World Smiles With You...

I've been wondering in recent times if some of our negative reception as 'christians' in 'the world' has less to do with what Jesus promised, and a whole lot more about creating our own self-fulfilling prophecy.

When I think how much I've heard about expecting to face persecution and hatred from those outside 'the church', I start to wonder if we find exactly what we are looking for.

I guess, what started me thinking was the fact that in embracing my brokenness, and finding healing for the wounding I suffered, I've discovered an unanticipated joy in interacting with others.

These days I live from a place of absolute assurance that God totally loves and embraces me just the way I am. And because I feel so secure and free in God's love, I have found it incredibly easy to reach out to others with that same grace. I find myself loving others with ease. Genuinely delighted in who they are. Seeing them as fellow travellers in life... not potential converts to my way of thinking.

And I've discovered that people who are treated with genuine goodwill will generally respond in kind. You might like to try it some time. Smile at someone as you pass them in the street, or thank someone for a small act of courtesy - not to manufacture any response from them, but to just reach out and say, "Hey, you are valuable!" It's amazing how often they will smile in return - how often you see some spark of joy light up when they are shown that they are seen, that they matter.

So it occurred to me to wonder if, conversely, when we interact with others expecting them to reject and 'persecute' us that's exactly how they respond.

I've seen plenty of 'christians' who seem to take some perverted kind of pleasure or reassurance from eliciting a negative response from others. I've also seen them justify all kinds of nasty behaviour based purely on that type of response. It's as if they go out of their way to be 'hated' because they can then say, "Well, Jesus said the world would hate us." It's treated like proof of their piety.

But, guess what? Sometimes people react angrily to us simply because we've acted like a jerk, not because they hate our 'holiness'.

4 comments:

  1. I pretty regularly criticize arguments like this (claiming the future will prove you are right), but I would not be the least bit surprised if when all of this is said and done, that we will find that more of God's people were martyred by something calling itself the church than any other source. Look at the people who hated Jesus first, they are the ones who could claim to be acting in the name of God. Don't be surprised when THOSE people hate you as well.

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    1. Totally love your honesty :) And yeah, it is incredibly sad how much hate and harm is perpetrated in the name of people's gods.

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  2. "The one who sincerely seeks good will find favor and acceptance. But the one who looks for evil will find it." ~Proverbs 11:27

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    1. Hey, that's brilliant! Thanks for sharing it :)

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