I want to be liked. That being the case, I often struggle when I hear that someone dislikes me. For some reason, they are upset at me and holding a grudge … and I sometimes struggle to live with that awareness.

I imagine that many folks are like that. But, if we are to be a serious Jesus-follower, we need to get over it.

To be sure, there are plenty of jerks in the Christian community. There are folks who, for one reason or another, make themselves easy to dislike. Don’t let this be true of you.

It is also true that we all are capable of offending someone else. In those cases, we need to be humble enough to acknowledge our mess up, go to the person we offended and apologize.

Further, there are many other positive relational habits that we must have in our lives such as:
Be someone who loves even your enemies (Matthew 5:44).
Pray for God’s blessings upon even your worst of enemies (Matthew 5:44).
Strive to live at peace with everyone (Romans 12:18).
Never counter-attack when you are wronged (Romans 12:19).

On and on we could go. We are to love others and live in such a way that when we are accused of wrong, any fair-minded person will realize the accusations are unfounded.

But, in my Bible reading this morning, I was reminded of a warning Jesus gave. He said that being a serious Jesus-follower sets us up to be disliked by those around us. When we stand for truth and desire to live in it (and when we desire that others live in it so they can be blessed by God), we will inevitably have folks who will despise us. But, it’s OK.

Maybe you are “too serious” about the Bible and following Jesus. Maybe you’re presenting a very good illustration of what the Christian life is to be like … and you make those around you feel guilty about their own lethargic (or sinful) lifestyles.

Maybe you see a family member or friend who is living in sin. Because you love them and want them to be a recipient of God’s love and not His justice, you confront them about the sin in their life. Much of the time, they will despise you for it. You have robbed them of the activity that they were pursuing to temporarily bring them happiness. They aren’t going to like you for it.

If you are serious about following Jesus (many “Christians” are not – read Matthew 7:21-23), then realize that there will be times that folks won’t like you. Get used to it. They did the same to Jesus.

Mark 13:9-13 (New Living Translation)
“When these things begin to happen, watch out! You will be handed over to the local councils and beaten in the synagogues. You will stand trial before governors and kings because you are my followers. But this will be your opportunity to tell them about me. For the Good News must first be preached to all nations. But when you are arrested and stand trial, don’t worry in advance about what to say. Just say what God tells you at that time, for it is not you who will be speaking, but the Holy Spirit. A brother will betray his brother to death, a father will betray his own child, and children will rebel against their parents and cause them to be killed. And everyone will hate you because you are my followers. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.”