What blessings await you when people hate you and exclude you and mock you and curse you as evil because you follow the Son of Man. (Luke 6:22 NLT)
There has been a firestorm of controversy swirling around a family in our nation, the Duggar Family. Their family is larger than most other families and their Christian faith is more public and therefore their family struggles have become known to many more people. Some are saying that the Duggars are hypocrites. That by taking stances in relation to issues of righteousness that the family portrays themselves as perfect or at least better than others. The point that this episode has brought to the surface is how little the world knows about the Christian faith and maybe how little Christians understand the world.
The Duggars have been accused of condemning people. Yes they hate unrighteousness in the world just like they hated the sin of their son Josh. Why, because they realize whether it is their own transgressions or the sin of others, this is what drove Jesus to the cross, and why sin is so abhorrent to a Christian. I am pretty sure you would be hard pressed to find one documented piece of evidence of any Duggar being hateful to an unbeliever. But due to their righteous stances, that perception is evident all over the secular press. People who have never experienced the Cross can never understand Christ.
What about the Christian part of the equation? Is our view a little blurred of the unbelieving world? The above-mentioned scriptural reference tells us that we will be mocked and cursed if we identify with Christ. When the vitriol and hatred came out against this family I was a bit surprised. Should I have been? Someone once said, “sin is what sinners do. Prior to our conversions would not many of us have been numbered among the mockers? The only thing different between them and us is the grace of God.
So what can we as Christians learn from their experience? I think we can look at this situation and see that the world needs not only a proclamation of the Gospel but a demonstration of it also. We need to speak forth truth, but what we say is always validated by our actions. When the world comes down upon us, the central piece of discipleship always kicks in, “take up his (meaning ours) cross and follow Me (Mark 8:34).” Cross bearing always involves shame and suffering. How does this look in the real world? When people falsely accuse us, do we react to them by finding something wrong with them? When people are unforgiving toward us, do we continue to extend forgiveness to them as Jesus did; “forgive them for they know not what the do (Luke 23:34).” When others hurt us, do we respond in like manner or do we look for ways to embrace them in the opposite spirit? And the list goes on and on. The only Christ that some people will ever see is the Christ in you and me. And His Cross does not shine forth by sentencing the world. Jesus did not come to condemn the world but to save it. This only happens when we love when we are hated; forgive when we are not forgiven, and accept when we are not accepted. As our scriptural reference tells us “what blessing await,” for those who walk the path of the Cross.
Ken Barnes, the author of “The Chicken Farm and Other Sacred Places” YWAM Publishing Email: firstname.lastname@example.org website: https://sites.google.com/site/kenbarnesbooksite/