Are You Surprised by Opposition?

Are You Surprised by Opposition?

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In a recent sermon the pastor made the statement:

A Christian should expect to be at odds with their culture.

It wasn’t a novel concept, but the bluntness of the statement got me thinking… I sometimes find myself being surprised that the world around me is at such odds with my worldview. I entertain the idea that if only we elected the right candidates and changed the right legislation society would get its act together and we could all live in harmony and happiness.

Um… that’s not what Jesus taught when he said:

If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. John 15:18

And a chapter later he added:

In this world you will have trouble. John 16:33

In other words, it should not come as a surprise when you and I feel at odds with the world around us. It was true in 30 AD, it was true in whatever golden age we might yearn for, and it’s true today. Until the Lord returns, we who are “not of this world” will be at odds with those who are of the world.

OK, so how does this play out in my life? This is what I’ve been mulling over, and here are a few thoughts on the subject. If we are at odds with the world, then…

  • We should not try to fit the norms society touts. We are at odds because we choose not to follow the world’s beliefs or worldview. We are stuck being the “aliens and strangers” in this world, the oddballs, the wacky Jesus freaks. We can be offended by their rejection or we can model Jesus’ behavior and carry on with our peculiar way of life regardless of what others think.
  • We should accept the fact that we will never “fix” society. While Satan rules, Christians and the world will never be in agreement. (However, remember the last part of John 16:33 where Jesus says, “But take heart! I have overcome the world.” This world isn’t the final chapter.)
  • We should not use the above as an excuse to give up on the world. We will never conquer the problems of our society, but we can influence it for good. Jesus and his followers were at odds with their society but that didn’t stop them from working to change the lives of the individuals around them.
  • We should not be afraid to stand up for our beliefs. It has been my experience that people generally admire someone who holds true to their beliefs (so long as the person doesn’t shove it down everyone’s throat). We may be at odds with society, but if we are consistent in acting according to our Christian worldview people will respect our sincerity. And if they respect us for holding to our values, they are more likely to listen to what we have to say…

For those (like me) who dislike conflict, finding ourselves at odds with others is uncomfortable. We would much rather all get along, even if that means compromising our stand a little. Remembering that I should expect to be at odds with society helps me hold firm.

What about you?

About Lisa Betz

Lisa Betz writes from an empty nest perched on a wooded Pennsylvania hillside. When not volunteering at the church or library, she blogs about intentional living and writes historical mysteries.

Comments

  1. Tina Dorward says:

    Great reminder Lisa.

  2. We conflict-averse types need to remember these things from time to time.

  3. Lisa, this post helped me clarify my thoughts and course of action on an issue I’ve been struggling with for a while that may (and I’m hoping will not) come to a head within the next few days. If it does, I have this post to remind me what decision I need to make. Thank you!

  4. Praying for you, Patti.

    Lisa, I am also reminded weekly that I live in a dark world when I attend my secular critique group. It’s a blessing that they let me share my Christian writings with them, and I know they watch me to see if I live according to what I write.

    • Lisa Betz says:

      What a great opportunity. (And a great responsibility.) May God’s truth shine through your words and attitudes.

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