Social Affirmation; January 2, 2023

Luke 6:22-23 “Blessed are you when men hate you,
when they exclude you and insult you
and reject your name as evil,
because of the Son of Man.
Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their fathers treated the prophets.”

This sounds remarkably familiar, like it’s a description of how Leftists treat those who try to live by Biblical principles. Jesus does go on right after this to touch on physical abuse, but here the abuse is psychological and social. The amount of invective poured out on social media can be astounding, and it’s certainly no fun to be the target of such. However, Jesus is saying we should rejoice when that happens, because we’re in excellent company. That said, we will rejoice only if our focus is on heaven. If our focus is on the temporal, we will only become miserable, which is exactly what the devil and those controlled by him desire. The flip side of that is equally true, and actually for the same reasons. Jesus goes on from this to talk about the dangers of being satisfied with the temporal. If we change our values in order to gain social approval, we will eventually learn that we are of no value even to ourselves. Our values, and the actions and lifestyle that stem from them, need to be rooted in the One who is eternal, and not dictated by what someone might say about us on the Internet. Social confirmation is a powerful force, but a look at Nazi Germany should teach us the extreme dangers of allowing it to control us.

Thinking about it, it was probably a blessing that I was always a misfit growing up, as a Caucasian in Japan, a civilian in a US military dependents school, and, on visits to the US, someone who knew nothing about pop culture. That made it far less tempting to “go with the flow,” largely because I was so unsuccessful when I attempted it! As an adult, I feel I have been more in danger of verse 26, “Woe to you when all men speak well of you.” I feel that I am generally well liked and respected, and that sometimes makes me feel uneasy! The thing is, I don’t want people to like me, I want them to love Jesus. However, in the Upper Room Discourse just before His arrest Jesus talked about how the world would treat His disciples as they treated Him, and that says clearly I’m not to look for popularity contests. I am, however, to pray that people’s eyes would be opened to see their own need for salvation and God’s supply of that salvation through Christ Jesus. If someone takes the trouble to insult me, that at least shows they care, and that is better than indifference. I must always remember that I can save no one, but God can use even me to save anyone.

Father, thank You for this reminder. I pray that I would live out this new year, and the rest of my life, following You fully, regardless of what the people around me are saying or doing, so that Your will may be done in and through me, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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