“Don’t think I (Jesus) came to bring peace on the earth.” Matthew 10:34a
There is a lot of focus these days on universal acceptance and it’s a big deal to a lot of church folks. (Hey, can’t we all just get along?) To be fair, one of the core values of our church is to have a Kingdom vision for ministry. But understand this: when the church takes on the mindset that unity and acceptance is more important than truth, they have completely misunderstood the person of Jesus Christ! Why? Because Jesus Christ is very clear that when He comes into a person’s life through faith, there will be a lack of peace in certain relationships – some relationships are for Christ and some are not.
There will be division. When we follow Christ, we’re going to face ridicule, division and sometimes even persecution. Now, there’s are a lot of well-intentioned Christians that get confused and become pridefully divisive in their self-righteous judgment of others. In their blindness to their own sin, they are quick to point out the sins of others. (It’s an attitude similar to the Pharisees in Jesus’ day.) In the process, they often take on a martyr complex. “Oh, I’m being persecuted for my faith.” Really? Try being a missionary in a country that hates Christians, then talk about being persecuted.
Christ wants us to understand that when we claim what He claims about Himself, when we take on the character of Jesus Christ, it will not be an easy road. And persecution comes in many forms, so I certainly don’t mean to denigrate any persecution you might have endured in trying to live the Christian life, no matter how big or small. I just want you to understand, that taking on the character of Christ isn’t an easy road. Persecution, challenges, and obstacles in the name of following Jesus are all part of the package. But the good news is that the eternal rewards of walking with Jesus in faith, will far outweigh the temporary sufferings we’ll face in this life!