“For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake,” –Philippians 1:29 (ESV)
The Christian message is an offensive one. It demands people to forsake their autonomy and their desires to a God they cannot see or touch. For this reason Christians are mocked for their perceived irrationality, and persecuted for their non-conformist stance against culture when it goes against the principles of Christ. As Christians, we are to be aware and to be prepared to face opposition for the beliefs and Saviour we have chosen to follow. At times, standing up for the cause of Christ will be hard and uncomfortable to do. However, in the face of opposition, Christ will be our comfort and strength; even when those closest to us have ceased to be so on account of our belief in Him.
At the same time, it is easy to develop a victim mentality. Often I have heard stories from other Christians claming to have been unjustly slandered for their faith in Christ. Yet when I look at their lives and how they act towards those who do not to the same faith, I can understand why they were. It is important that whenever we go out we should remind ourselves who we represent and acknowledge that we represent Him through our actions, words, and thoughts whether we want to or not. Being inconsiderate, obnoxiously judgmental, and an all-around jerk, and then claiming to be persecuted for your faith when the angry criticism piles on, is not a good witness for Christ. People should be offended by the message of Christ because of its claims, not because of the actions and words of its followers. We must always be willing to examine ourselves and our attitudes, and we should be quick to acknowledge our faults when confronted with them and actively seek to change them. In doing so, we become more effective witnesses for Christ and people around us will take notice. They will respect your beliefs because they truly see a love which can only come from God evident in your life, and that will give you an avenue to share the message of Christ with them.
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.