I have spent way too much time in my life worrying about what other people will think of me if I say certain things, dress, behave, or do things (games, athletics, sing, etc) in public. This fear is paralyzing at times. Who knows what I have missed out on because I can’t bring myself to risk ridicule or embarrassment? The older I get the less I worry, but I still don’t bowl or play games in front of other people…maybe one day.
When it comes to talking to people about Jesus I experience the same kind of paralyzing fear. The fear that I will be ostracized or someone will argue with me and I won’t know what to say. The fear of rejection was more powerful than trusting Jesus to be with me.
With age comes wisdom. I have found ways of doing it that isn’t preaching at someone; telling them they are going to hell if they don’t believe and do as I do. Jesus taught with love and gentleness. He didn’t mince words, but he taught with stories and metaphors. He loved and cared for all people and held religious leaders to a higher standard. With them he could get testy. After all, they were the people who should have known better.
Jesus knew and understood why he was reviled by the Jewish leaders of his day. He was turning their world upside down. Jesus still turns our world upside down. The mere mention of his name can set jaws and spines in rebellion to the message he brought. This verse brings me comfort in those times I feel rejection because I take a stand with Jesus. It isn’t me…it is him. So I know to pray for the person or persons that their heart would soften and become receptive. Then it is out of my hands. I treat the person with loving kindness and show them what it is like to be a follower of Christ.
“The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify against it that its works are evil.” ~JesusJohn 7:7
When you feel isolated and lonely for whatever reason, Jesus knows how you feel. His still waters run deep and he will comfort and guide you.