WARNING: CONTAINS GRAPHIC IMAGERY
Yesterday on YouTube I got called a profanity word for being a Christian. I can’t totally blame the other person. I was in a bad mood, and probably provoking people more than usual. And even t I wasn’t, there’s the second problem, specific to the Internet – a person has about 5 seconds, without so much as seeing your face or hearing your voice, to appropriate a mental framework for who you are and how to approach you. With this in mind, someone who has a negative association with some Christians will probably never see past a cross by my name, and in all honesty, I’ll probably lay similar associations on anyone I see with an atheist profile online. After much thought, I’ve noticed that, in the real world, face-to-face, I’ve had plenty of friends who were atheists, and that hasn’t really been a problem. Only online, where there’s no time to establish common interests or buy somebody a coke, do the vast array of things that make up a person get reduced to a cartoon avatar and a couple of descriptive words.
In the incident mentioned above, when I was cursed at as part of a very long tirade, I was pleased to see other atheists living up to their ideal of “being good for goodness’ sake”. Many attacked the hatemonger, saying he (or she, who knows?) was the kind of person who gave atheists a bad name, spreading aggression and close-mindedness. One especially well-spoken atheist, who I believe was older than the original commentor, pulled rank, giving numerous examples from his own life of how it was possible to respect another person’s beliefs even if you didn’t agree. “It doesn’t matter if they believe in an 8-armed fairy that grants wishes,” he argued, “you still need to have the decency to let people have their beliefs in Christianity…” But he couldn’t leave without this last stinger: “…no matter how absurd.”
Processing through all this, I found myself turning back to the words of Jesus Christ and others on the subject of being hated by non-believers. I began to piece these quotes together with images as a sort of poem. While a couple of Google searches yielded hopeful results, even some excellent examples of non-Christians standing up for the civil right of Christians to freely worship, a huge number were discouraging.
At times like this, I think it’s comforting to know that Jesus wasn’t “sucker punched” by controversy and hatred, but understood very early on that these things would come.
All quotes without an author listed are from Jesus.
“BLESSED ARE YOU WHEN PEOPLE HATE YOU”
“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.” – Jesus, c. 35 A.D.
“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.”
“The time is coming when anyone who kills you will think they are offering a service to God.”
“Blessed are you when people hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil…and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me…”
“…Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their ancestors treated the prophets.”
“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” – Paul of Tarsus
“Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.”
Mother of Saint Maria Goretti after receiving communion with her child’s murderer and would-be rapist, who later played a role in the girl’s selection for sainthood. c.1950
“But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.”
“Forgive them, for they know not what they are doing.”
“Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.” – Peter, who, at the time he wrote this, already knew he would be crucified for practicing and teaching Christianity.
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Images are not my own and were obtained through Google.com without the express permission of their authors.
The author of this post expresses neither approval or disapproval of any organizations or persons referenced in this article…
…with the exception of ISIS. I can definitely say I disapprove of ISIS…
To locate these verses, try a keyword search on biblegateway.com. Some quotes are made of multiple verses grouped together.