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“And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.” (Mt 7:26-17 ESV)
(Photo by Susanne Schuberth)

Truth unites and truth divides. If we think we can make a compromise between following Jesus and seeking to live in (false) harmony with everyone else around us, we will make a big mistake. Our Lord clearly said,

“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” (Mt 10:34-39 ESV)

“Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.” (Mt 12:30 ESV).

These Scriptures above clarify that there will be persecution for those who decide to follow the Lord down-the-line. If we have already experienced some hatred and rejection in our lives while God enabled us to love others, we know that we were not rejected by doing the wrong thing but simply because we listened to the Lord and obeyed His guidance. If we hurt much from being rejected by the ones we love, and normally that is how we feel as human beings, Satan comes in and tries to tempt us. How so?
Our natural man wants to be loved, or at least approved, by everyone and seeks to live in harmony with others. Our spiritual nature instead, which always wars against the carnal nature, seeks to submit and surrender to God instead. Here is conflict, dear brothers and sisters! Although Jesus told us to live in peace with everyone if possible (cf. Rom 12:17-18), we know that the most peaceful person who ever lived on earth was not acknowledged by His own and was finally killed in the cruelest way on the cross in Golgotha.

So, if we truly follow the Lord, we will find ourselves being rejected again and again, not because we were so unlovable, yet because it is Christ in us who is hated by those who unknowingly submitted to the lord of this world (i.e., the devil). Our task as Christians then is to love our enemies because we know that they do not know what they do. Jesus Christ, eventually, is the One who will deal with those who reject us if they could not be won by the agape love shown to them before.

Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: “‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes’? Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people producing its fruits. And the one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; and when it falls on anyone, it will crush him.” When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables, they perceived that he was speaking about them. (Mt 21:42-45 ESV)