Thursday, May 1, 2008

They Hate Me... and I'm Glad!

In life, negative images generally serve to block the positive mental views we have of the world.

As an example, think "Twin Towers" "O.J. Simpson" and "Phuket, Thailand". We no longer think about the "Center of International Commerce", the "Heisman Trophy Winner", or the "Oceanside Paradise". Those former images are now obscured with images of terrorism, murder and tsunami.

Why is it that, when a celebrity...

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...is seen in his natural habitat, it's rarely a more positive view of them that we receive? Look at the recent candid views we've had of the life of celebrities like Alec Baldwin, David Hasselhoff, and "Dog the Bounty Hunter" Duane Chapman. The TV and real-life bounty hunter was the latest celebrity to have his true, hateful, racial opinions publicly revealed in a candidly recorded telephone call. And what a revelation it was! The girl who was the object of Mr. Chapman's rant was was distilled by him to the worst thing he could think of about her.... namely her color. Once a celebrity lets his mouth fly there's no going back. He was once known as our old pal "Dog the Bounty Hunter", but from now on, to many in America, he'll always be "Duane Chapman, Racist".

The same is true of Michael Richards who played the bumbling Cosmo Kramer on the sitcom "Seinfeld". He was funny, easy to watch, and he seemed like an old friend or buddy. But now those pleasant mental pictures have been pushed to the back of our minds... directly behind Mr Richards' real-life racist tirade. Now our "relationship" with him is different. We've seen his "true colors" and many of us are no longer comfortable with him. To many, he is no longer our TV friend... he's a "racist actor."

Polls show that around eighty-five percent of Americans call themselves "Christian". Yet the vast majority of those 85% are generally at peace with a sinful world. I say that because they are not hated by the world! In fact, some internationally-known "Christians" like Rick Warren and Joel Osteen are flat-out loved by even the non-Christian world.

Jesus said "...everyone will hate you because you are my followers" (Luke 21:7) If the world does not hate Joel Osteen (or at least his message), how can we say Mr. Osteen is a "follower of Christ"? If the world does not hate Rick Warren, how can we say Mr. Warren is a "follower of Christ"?

There is a noticible "lack of hate" for Christians in the United States. I don't see many people being despised for their intolerance of sin or for preaching repentance of sin and the wrath of God. I don't see many being beaten or killed for holding church services or distributing bibles. In fact, I don't see many people in my daily life doing anything that we would classify as "Christian Activity". This is the biblical proof that the vast majority of self-proclaimed "Christians" are not truly saved! They call themselves "Christian" yet they have never "sold all and followed Jesus". They have never "picked up their cross". They have never been"crucified with Christ". They have never been "born again". Therefore they are NOT Christians... they are NOT really saved.

Are you really saved? Are you really a Christian? Just ask yourself "Does the world hate me?" The word "Christian" means "Christ-follower"... Are you truly a Christ-follower? Do you do what He has commanded all of us to do? Have you gone where He has commanded all of us to go? Is He really Lord to you? (Your Master, Boss, King, and Ruler) Or do you simply call Him "Lord, Lord..." when, in fact, He has never even known you?

Have you really repented (turned away) from your sin? Have you ever put to death your own will to submit to His authority? Or are you still on good terms with your sin... or with the sinners? Here's a little tip for you; If the sinners love you or your message (or lack of one)... you are either NOT preaching the Gospel at all, or you are following and proclaiming an anti-Christ false gospel!

To millions, it feels good to be able to say "I'm a Christian" without having to lay down their sin in repentance? What about you? Does the world still see you as one of the "majority", the loving, quiet, non offensive "Christians". Or have they seen your "true colors" as one who is "in Christ", following Him, serving Him, and, yes, obeying Him. If so, the Bible says that the world will come to hate you!

If you are now "that born again guy" to them, they won't ever be able to see you as you were to them before. As one of the "minority" on the narrow path to Life, I want the "negative image" of the Gospel to block the "positive image" of the sinful life. I want to be hated for "spewing" the intolerant Word of God, the "message of offense"(1 Peter 2:8), the True Gospel of Jesus Christ.

In one way, I'm striving to be like "Dog" Chapman & Michael Richards! How? In creating situations where the world doesn't see the "old me" anymore,... fun, comfortable, ol' buddy, and pal to the world... but constantly praying that the world always sees what I have become in Christ... and always praying that the Words I speak will offend them until they turn in true repentance and faith to Jesus Christ!

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5 comments:

FishHawk said...

"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing. Look, your house is left to you desolate. For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, 'Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.'" {Matthew 23:37-39 NIV}

Just how "glad" was our Lord and Savior to be hated back then; and since He remains the same today as He always has been and forever will be {Hebrews 13:8}: has anything really changed???

These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come. So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall! {1 Corinthians 10:11-12 NIV}

Jon Sharp - said...

Fishhawk... Not sure what you were trying to say but here's how "glad" Jesus was...

Matt 5:11 “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.
Matt 5:12 Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Jon Sharp - said...

Also, Fishhawk let's put more of the context of the scripture that you referenced...

1Co 10:6-12 Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted.

And do not become idolaters as were some of them. As it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.”

Nor let us commit sexual immorality, as some of them did, and in one day twenty-three thousand fell; nor let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed by serpents; nor complain, as some of them also complained, and were destroyed by the destroyer.

Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.

Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.

This is concerning the Israelites in the desert who turned to sin rather than God and were destroyed.... So how does it apply to this blog?

FishHawk said...

Matthew 23:37-39 is a lament. For our Heavenly Father does not delight in the destruction of anyone {Ezekiel 18:32}

Now, in regards unto how 1 Corinthians 10:11-12 applies unto this post: it serves as written confirmation of what our Heavenly Father wants us all to be wary of; and one of those things is pride. For if you were truly thankful for being saved from your sins: you would not be so glad about being so hated. After all: what did you do to deserve being saved from your sins; and what are doing to reflect His Light in a world deeply steeped in the darkness of Spiritual ignorance??? For if you have earned the right to be called a child of the Lord God Almighty: then you have good reason to be quite pleased with yourself; but if haven't...

FishHawk said...

It showed a great deal of humility in you to post my previous comments: especially the last one. For it was clearly a rebuke; and to post it serves as a clear reflection of our Heavenly Father's Light shining through you.

Be assured that I often get caught-up in the spirit of something: only to be shown later that I had fallen into one of Satan's insidious traps. For if a point cannot be made without resorting unto natural anger: it is not worth making {James 1:19-20}; and I deeply regret my words being so harsh.

Please feel free to email me anytime. Be assured that I would delight in having a very close and personal relationship with you if that would be in accordance unto our Heavenly Father's will.