Unrecognized, Rejected, Hated
“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.” (1 John 3:1)
Since the world did not know Jesus, since it did not recognize Him, then, as His followers, it will not recognize us. The world rejected everything about Jesus: the way He loved those who were deemed unlovable, the way He forgave what others said deserved a stoning, the way He touched those who were deemed unclean. The world cast Him out, rejected Him, and murdered Him.
“He came into the very world he created, but the world didn't recognize him.” (John 1:10)
“He was despised and rejected—a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief.” (Isaiah 53:3a)
“If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first. The world would love you as one of its own if you belonged to it, but you are no longer part of the world. I chose you to come out of the world, so it hates you. Do you remember what I told you? ‘A slave is not greater than the master.’ Since they persecuted me, naturally they will persecute you. And if they had listened to me, they would listen to you.” (John 15:18-20)
2 Corinthians 5:20 calls us ambassadors of Christ and Ephesians 5:1 tells us to be imitators of God, so if we are truly living this way then there always lies the possibility that the world will reject us just as it did Christ. Stephanie Borowicz knows exactly what it means to be unrecognized, rejected, and hated by this world. The Pennsylvania state representative opened a voting session Monday morning with a 103-second prayer in which she invoked Jesus’ name around 13 times. One of the tasks of the Legislature that morning was to swear in its first Muslim woman at the statehouse. Lukas Mikelionis writes:
“Democrats slammed her for the prayer. Rep. Movita Johnson-Harrell, the Muslim lawmaker who was sworn in at the Statehouse, accused Borowicz of using her religion against her. ‘I thought that for the most part, the entire invocation was offensive,’ she told reporters. ‘But to use Jesus as a weapon is not OK.’
“Democratic state Leader Frank Dermody said Borowicz’s speech was ‘beneath the dignity of this House’ and suggested setting up a group to review the procedure.”
This world is rejecting Representative Borowicz for praying in the name of Jesus and this was her response to the outcry: “I prayed every day. I prayed.” She is not apologizing for exercising her freedom of speech and religion. This not a broad religious issue: it is a directed attack against Jesus Christ and Christians for on the very next day, State Representative Jason Dawkins opened session by reading from the Quran, which caused applause from the chamber. As Mark Spence put it: “The further a society drifts from the Truth, the more they will hate those who proclaim it.” This is just one example of a growing number in which Christianity is being persecuted here in the United States of America.
“‘If anyone is ashamed of me and my message in these adulterous and sinful days, the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person when he returns in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.’” (Mark 8:38)
The question we have to ask ourselves is: which do we really want—the world or Christ? It’s not a new issue: Jesus asked in Matthew 16:26, “And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul?” So are we fighting for the world’s approval? Are we burying or softening the message of Christ to avoid rejection from people? Are you willing to speak up for Christ even though it could mean public ridicule, threats, or even job loss? God has told us exactly what to expect from this world: rejection, persecution, and hatred. Will you stand on the truth of Christ, no matter the cost?
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.