Being hated should not be a point of pride for Christians

Emily Timbol, writing at Huffington Post, says that being hated by the world should not be a point of pride for Christians:

Last Friday, Gawker, no stranger to harsh criticism, posted an article declaring that “Christian Evangelical” is now an empty phrase. A few days later, a Barna Group study made the rounds on the internet declaring that the majority of modern Christians are more like Pharisees than Jesus. Ouch.

Responses to the Barna Group study varied. Some Christians posted it with a simple accompanying, “Amen.” Others were defensive, and questioned the findings. But one response to this damning view of Christianity kept popping up in my News Feed.

“Good. If the Christian-bashing world hates us, it means we’re doing something right.” …

When you dive into that Barna Group study, or really any study that’s come out in the past 50 years about the world’s view of Christianity, you’ll see that Christians aren’t being hated because of the radical, faithful way they’re following Christ. They’re being hated because they’ve spent 2,000 years telling the world what Christ died for, but then doing the opposite. Often in His name.

It’s time that Christians stop accepting this label of “hated” as a badge of pride, and start viewing it as a warning. It shouldn’t be a chink in our armor against darkness. It should be a call to cause us to examine the weakness we have before we go into battle. Because it’s true that if we’re following Christ, we’ll be hated. But it’s important to pay attention to just who will be hating us — and why.

It’s only then that we can get back on track to doing what Christ sent us to do. Loving God, loving our neighbors, and following His example in how to do just that.

Read her full post here. And earlier this week, John Blake wrote about the recent tendency of conservative Christians to claim persecution for their views on homosexuality (“When Christians become a ‘hated minority’ “) at CNN’s Belief blog.

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4 Comments
  1. Gaynellusanc

    mark 13:13 tells us we will be hated, but that is not brought about because of the good we do, but by our every day actions.

    Oft times I am embarrassed by the way we treat others, the word tells us to “Love one another”, and we can no matter what they have done or the way they live their life. Hate the sin, not the sinner. Romans tells us we have ALL sinned Yes there are things that are deplorable to God but it is up to us to show HIS love.

    Gaynell Jennings [added by ed. – please sign you name when you comment – thanks]

  2. billydinpvd

    Being hated by the world might not be a legitimate point of pride for Christians, neither is being loved and admired by the world. The pandering Christian is just as objectionable as the pharassaical one.

    Bill Dilworth

  3. Weiwen Ng

    I was going to say something along the lines of Bill Dilworth. Let’s say that your interpretation of Christianity calls you to oppose nuclear weapons at all costs, including breaking in to an American nuclear facility and defacing it (e.g. smearing the blood of a deceased anti-nuclear activist over buildings). A nun and two others did this recently.

    Most Americans would hate you for that. As a matter of fact, I cannot say that I or most Christians I know would condone that form of civil disobedience. But it was a clear call of conscience. Come to think of it, God is almost certain to hate nukes. Yet those Christians are hated by the world. Maybe they should rejoice at being hated by the world in that instance.

    Or, in a milder case, you strongly opposed the war in Iraq because of your faith. I did. The mood of the country was quite against that strain of thought in the early 2000s. Maybe you should have rejoiced at being hated.

    Certainly, if you are hated a lot of the time by a broad swathe of society, you need to rethink something. But the two examples above are completely justifiable by modern and traditional Christian teachings and by Scripture. Thriving on others’ hate can motivate you. Now, certainly, your motives can be less than pure, and you can make the case that the motives of some conservative Evangelicals are not pure. But some of Christ’s teachings are so counter to the way we normally behave – for instance, putting our own tribe’s needs before those of people from other tribes – that they inevitably provoke hate. So there are instances where the hatred of the world is a sign you are doing something right. At the very least, we shouldn’t pander to baser instincts.

  4. tgflux

    Comfort the afflicted, and afflict the comfortable.

    If we’re hated for doing the latter, well and good. But if we’re hated for NOT doing the former (if, au contraire, we’re afflicting the afflicted), Bad News (when we’re supposed to be the Good News people).

    JC Fisher

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