“Dad,” the little boy said after school one day, “why don’t people like us?”
Dad knew this day was bound to come, and he’d been preparing for it. So he sat his son down, opened up the Bible, and turned to the Gospel of John: “If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.”
“So,” the little boy said, seeking clarification, “people don’t like us because we belong to Jesus?”
Dad nodded his head, encouraged by his son’s astuteness...
Dad, Dad, Dad, I don’t know where to begin. I really don’t. Have a seat, would you? We need to have a talk. That’s right, you and me.
For the most part, people don’t dislike you because you’re a Christian. In fact, just the opposite is true—people don’t like you because you’re not Christian enough.
Jesus said be in the world but not of the world. But you and your peers are…well, you are the world, only with a Christian label.
You don’t believe me? Need an example?
Okay, here’s one. I’ve been in the work place for several years now and the only way I can tell the Christians apart from the non-Christians is that the Christians occasionally talk about going to church or Bible study. But that’s really the only difference. The Christians gossip as much as the others, they complain as much, tend to be just as lazy.
Still not convinced? Okay, how about taking a short quiz. The answers may surprise you.
Q1: How can you spot a Christian driver?
Q2: How can you spot a Christian businessman?
Q3: How can you spot a Christian housewife?
How do you think you did, Dad? Let’s find out. The answers are as follows. You can spot a Christian driver because his or her car has a little fish decal on the back. You can spot a Christian businessman because, when he’s screwing you over, he makes sure to do it in the name of Jesus. And you can spot a Christian housewife because she tends to gossip under the guise of a prayer request.
That’s right, Dad, I’m saying that people hate you because you’re just like the world. But actually, now that I think about it, that’s not quite right. If you were just like the world, no one would bat an eye. What angers people so much is that, although you act like they do, you claim to be better. Though you live like rats, you claim to be disciples of the greatest moral teacher of all-time.
When you get down to it, the honest pagan’s not such a bad guy. Sure, he might double-cross you, but he never said he wouldn’t, never said he was above such behavior. You, on the other hand…
As long as you’re quoting Bible verses to your son, I have a couple for him: “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own?”
You see, Dad, people dislike liars and cheats, but they absolutely despise hypocrites. If you truly followed Jesus—loved your enemies, kept a tight reign on your tongue and anger—then you wouldn’t be so reviled. No, people might not understand you. And yes, they’d think you were a little weird. But they might—no promises here, but they might, just might—want what you had.
So, Dad, that’s what you should be telling your little boy. If you have trouble explaining all that, just have him give me a call.