Being misunderstood is probably one of the top three things I have struggled with in relationships. Frustration sets in when my actions have spoken to others that I don't appreciate or love them, especially when I'm trying to communicate how much I love them. My children-case in point. Many times I'm trying to keep them safe when they think I'm being overprotective (sometimes I am being overprotective-too many times, actually). Many times I have to say things to my children that they really don't want to hear. Many times I am misunderstood by my children, but I must stick-to-my-guns, for their sake, because I love them.
The thing is, I've come to expect to be misunderstood by my children, and I'm okay with it. However, it's not been as easy for me to learn that I will be misunderstood and hated if I follow Jesus.
My love of people causes me to stumble over this truth. And more than that, my love of self, my reputation.
Jesus promised that a follower of Him will be excluded and reviled. He promised that people will not only speak poorly of those who follow Him, but they will be hated.
You will be hated by all for my name's sake. Lk. 21:17
If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. John 15:19
Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man! Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven, for so their fathers did to the prophets. Lk. 6:22, 23
Woe to you, when all people speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets. Lk. 6:26
I shouldn't have been blind-sided by this. It's even my kids' verse for the day, chosen by their father, for crying out loud. Jesus said to anyone who would follow Him:
If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. (Matthew 16:24-26)
Why has this been difficult to learn?
Perhaps because it's easier to accept hard Truths when they're somewhere "out there" when you're not the one being persecuted.
Perhaps it's easier to pray for a sister who's being hated than it is to believe Truth for yourself.
Perhaps because I thought I would be hated when I did stupid things, spoke harsh words, etc.
But the truth is,
we're hated when we follow Jesus....
When we surrender to and obey Him.
That's when we're hated the most.
To know Truth is to be set free. Praying this truth, for us as Christian women, will settle deep in our souls, The fear of man lays a snare but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe. (Prv. 29:25) and we Fear God and not anything that is frightening. (1 Peter 3:6).
Trusting in this promise, that even if we suffer for righteousness sake, we will be blessed, that we are to have no fear of man or be troubled. (1 Peter 2:17 and 3:14)
I pray Father, that we will in our hearts honor you as holy, that we will always be prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks for a reason for that hope that is in us, and may we do it with gentleness and respect. Thank you, Lord, for showing us how to suffer well, and the only way to stand and persevere is in Christ alone.