He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. (Isa. 53:3)
We can spend a lot of energy concerning ourselves with what others think of us. Some of us do this in stereotypical ways: we worry about our appearance and spend money and time to look younger. Or, even if we are at a healthy weight, we want to lose a few more pounds to look really great in the clothes we wear. Yet it is not only these obvious ways that we do this; sometimes we Christians can be very concerned with what others think of us.
As society redefines morality, sometimes the wider society views Christians as the bad guys for simply proclaiming and practicing something that God calls good. In these moments, we are like the prophet Elijah; wicked King Ahab greeted him by saying, “Is that you, you troubler of Israel?”
Being despised bothers some Christians a lot; we don’t like others thinking less of us. During those times, we can remember that Jesus himself was rejected and despised. That’s not to say that every time someone dislikes us that we are being like Jesus. As Paul reminds us, there are times when we suffer for doing wrong. But we should not be surprised that doing the right thing often leads to being despised and rejected, and in those moments, we can have hope.
Remember that your identity is in Christ.
Michael Jordan is the dean of the chapel at Houghton College (New York), where he also serves as chair of the department of biblical studies, theology, and philosophy.
© 2020 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission. Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®.