I’m much happier when people like me.
I know…I know…I’m weird, but that’s the honest to goodness truth.
So even through that bit of sarcasm I’d venture to say you probably agree with me.
I mean, if given the choice of walking into a room full of people that loved you versus a room full of people that hated your guts you’d probably choose the room where you wouldn’t get assaulted. Right?
No one wakes up in the morning desiring to make more enemies and frankly I’m not sure if any of us wake up with a To Do list task that says “Find 3 friends today”. We simply want to go through our days peacefully hoping to encounter people we like rather than those we want to run and hide from.
Since all relationships have two sides to them we will fall into one of these categories too as the “other person”.
Sometimes we have positive perceptions of us because we’ve built up relational credibility, share common interests, have lived some life together, and other things that allow us to be a good person to be around.
Other times you or I may be the disgruntled employee they had to fire, the girl that cheated on her husband with, or the foul mouthed parent at the t-ball game that was kicked out for punching the umpire. In these cases we become the relationship repellant and may need a good scrubbing with the spiritual SOS pad.
But there are times where great relationships and poor relationships alike encounter a common disconnect. It’s far less tangible to “fix” or change to make the relationship right again. That disconnect is your faith.
Our faith as Christians will often times be a real barrier between us and other people.
Sometimes it’s justified. There are over zealous, idiot Christians that tell people more about how they are going to Hell instead of how much Christ loves them. Other bonehead Christians will put the Jesus fish on their car, wear the WWJD bracelet, and continue to do pot and beat their wives. We become innocent victims to their bad experience with church or with hypocritical people in the past that now is assigned to you as a Believer.
But even when we are living a loving, balanced, humble, Christ pursuing life there are still people that will bristle at the idea that we are a Christian. The question we face in those moments becomes part of the litmus test of our Faith.
The Apostle Paul is an interesting character and one that knew his way around a beating and argument over his faith. Listen to these words he pens to the Galatians.
“Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.” – Galatians 1:10
The litmus test of our faith is whether we will waiver and crumble so people will like us or will we stay strong and rooted in Christ despite what people say.
To paraphrase Paul a bit, it’s as if he’s saying “Listen if I was trying to win a popularity contest I would have chose to believe in something else. If you haven’t noticed from my broken bones, jacked up face, empty pockets, and jail suits being a Christian hasn’t made me very successful. But I believe in Christ not for the applause of men but for the embrace of Christ. His opinion is the only one that matters to me.”
As a Christian, our beliefs go against much of what the culture has adopted as ok. This isn’t a new concept. The world will always be in opposition with what God desires and it’s because sin is still present. So to believe that we can have everyone like us is a guaranteed impossibility. After all when you start messing with the “stuff” and idols in people’s lives you know that won’t be popular.
That’s why we need to have as many positive relationships as we can with people in our life. Creating good relationships with people, not popular ones but honest relationships with people will allow you the greatest chance to share the Truth of Christ to them.
Granted in the end they may turn their back and walk away. They still may not like you and you could lose friends over your Faith. But the words of Paul in Romans still ring in my spirit and encourage me to stay firm in the Truth of Christ.
“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” - Romans 8:37-39
So stand tall in your faith in Christ and don’t be upset when you aren’t voted Most Popular.