Undoubtedly, secularists are increasingly hostile against The Gospel and Christians. There’s no shortage of politicians, commentators, personalities and other assorted talking heads employing vicious rhetoric, inclining many hearts to view believers with utter contempt. Much of this is due to the manner in which they’re presenting Christians, using loaded terms such as “bigoted”, “intolerant”, “hateful”, “deplorable”, “racist”, “homophobe” and the like.
These classifications are completely euphemistic – therein lies the whole purpose of such name calling. Christ’s disciples are supposed to be human waste in the eyes of anyone who isn’t a believer.
The question is how to minister to those who are increasingly turning against Christianity?
Historically speaking, such hostility against The Faith is not new. Anyone who reads the Gospels, Acts and some church history will note that disdain and outright persecution of Christ and his followers has been a reality since the beginning. Yet in the midst of such fiery antipathy the Good News continued and continues to spread. How so?
The answer lies in not reciprocating the world’s hatred.
Christ makes this explicitly clear when he teaches that Christians ought to love their enemies and pray for those that persecute them. (Matthew 5:43-48) This is an important personal reminder: consider that not a few non-secular persons will, intentionally or unintentionally, influence us to view sinners as abhorrent people, worthy of our scorn, instead of lost folk needing redemption. We mustn’t forget that we were once alienated from God because of our own sin. (Colossians 1:21-23) It took a loving Christian or Christians insisting we hear the Gospel regardless of our antipathy toward them. Imagine if they would have come to despise us instead – what then?
A last word: Not repaying the world’s disdain shouldn’t be conflated with a call to refrain from discerning and denouncing sinful, malicious activity. (John 7:24; Titus 2:15) Some have come to advance the erroneous idea that non-judgment is a virtue, a demonstration of not repaying evil with evil (in truth, refraining from judging at all is a virtual impossibility), when all it is is cowardice in disguise. Also, loving one’s enemies doesn’t give a sinner permission to abuse Christians.