Hated By Everyone
Earlier this week, a group of Christians, including elementary-aged children, were targeted in yet another school shooting. The national response was fairly predictable: ban guns! The difference in this case is that rather than the victims being affirmed or sympathized with, it is the shooter and the shooter’s community that is being affirmed while prayers for the victims are being mocked. The shooter was a self-identifying transgender person and thus, the media rushed to affirm the trans-community and condemn the Christian community, even though Christians were the victims. The FBI has yet to reveal if they are opening a hate crime investigation into the shooting. Jesus talked of times in the future when Christians would be hated by everyone and that maybe even the closest people to us would try to kill us.
“‘But before all this occurs, there will be a time of great persecution. You will be dragged into synagogues and prisons, and you will stand trial before kings and governors because you are my followers. But this will be your opportunity to tell them about me. So don’t worry in advance about how to answer the charges against you, for I will give you the right words and such wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to reply or refute you! Even those closest to you—your parents, brothers, relatives, and friends—will betray you. They will even kill some of you. And everyone will hate you because you are my followers. But not a hair of your head will perish! By standing firm, you will win your souls.’” (Luke 21:12-19)
Before this specific prediction about the treatment of His followers, Jesus said that there would be wars, nation against nation, real wars and rumored wars. We’ve seen all of this play out throughout history and we are living in real and rumored wars right now. We know that some of the followers to whom Jesus was saying these things experienced everything He said: being dragged into synagogues and prisons, standing trials before kings, and even killed. It may be that we associate these warnings with things that have already happened or things that happen in far away, totalitarian countries, but we probably don’t imagine Jesus’ predictions coming true for us. But we need to keep in mind, Jesus is not excluding American Christians from these predictions. As the end times get closer, it will get worse for those who follow Jesus.
“‘A brother will betray his brother to death, a father will betray his own child, and children will rebel against their parents and cause them to be killed. And all nations will hate you because you are my followers. But everyone who endures to the end will be saved.’” (Matthew 10:21-22)
The reaction of the media and the public to this massacre of Christians is very troubling and disappointing but it’s not surprising. Don’t be a follower who betrays a brother or sister, but endure to the end. We will be called the enemy and blamed for being the victims of targeted shootings. We will be hated by everyone, and in a culture that puts self first, a culture that elevates the love of others as the ultimate achievement, this will be hard for many to accept. Jesus predicted it, and it will come true. We will be hated by everyone. Endure to the end.
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.