– John R. Rice
Your Life Convicts Them
I have a friend who is the only Christian in her family. She says that her family is often angry at her, and she asked me why. I told her I believe it is because her life of holiness convicts them and their conscience is troubled, but that’s good; it shows that she is walking with Christ, and offense cannot be avoided. I told her that if she claimed to be a believer and never suffered any persecution, then something would be very wrong, as Paul wrote that “all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Tim. 3:12). All in the Greek means all!
Your Light Hurts Them
We are a light in a sin-darkened world. Our light hurts the eyes of those who are blinded to the glorious Gospel. If you walked into a dark room with a light and there were people there, the light would hurt their eyes, but that doesn’t mean you must put out your own light. The light overcomes the darkness, as when Jesus came into the world, it was said of Him that “the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:5) and that this “light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil” (John 3:19).
Your Message Angers Them
Jesus reminded His disciples and reminds us that “’a servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will’” (John 15:20). So “if you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you” (John 15:19). I would rather be hated by the world and loved by God than loved by the world and cut off from God.
Paul told King Agrippa that he was sent to the Gentiles to help “open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me” (Acts 26:18). It is certainly true that if you were enough like God, someone wouldn’t like you. In fact, they would even hate you. We must not be surprised by this.