When Jesus walked this earth He was detested.
The import of this reality should never be underestimated.
He who embodied moral perfection, who brought the light and love of the Father was hated. If He was hated, He who is the light of the world, what treatment shall we expect?
Satan, the father of lies and half-truths, first tries to convince us that if our testimony is good then people will respond positively to us. Then, when our attempts at sharing the light of the Gospel are met with derision and mockery, the serpent returns and hisses in our ear, “Your testimony fails because it is false.”
See clearly, rather, that the brighter that the light shines, the more those who oppose it will froth at the mouth in rabid anger. This anger, however, will not look like an abusive attack, but rather, it will be far more subtle. They will laugh, scoff, and guffaw, “What outdated nonsense!” They will spout, with no small amount of intensity, that nothing can be known for certain, or that religious thinking is cultic in nature. Their relativistic god, ironically, may be science which is claimed to be the only objective norm, but is nonetheless drawn, behind the scenes, through a subjective lense.
The Light was rejected, and will be rejected: let us never take it to heart as the prideful do at any personal slight. Rather, embrace the Cross with joy, for He is with you in every trial.
Our passion for the faith, however, should never be blind or foolhardy.
Some who believe themselves to have invincible faith and morals are all but deaf to the world and its criticisms. With any opposition they become like vipers striking out at the least provocation in the name of the faith. When our faith life reaches this level it can cause great harm, because we no longer see or hear the pain of the other. Often their opposition to religion is drawn from wounds suffered over many years.
The active and prudent Christian must take a much more subtle and difficult path, one in which we both listen and take to heart the pain and the rejection of the other while moving past it and giving this suffering back to Christ by placing ourselves on the other side of His Cross.
Criticism should be received as Jesus received the nails of his executioners. Without any injurious word. They should be felt and we should be ready at the drop of a hat to adapt our methods of sharing the light of the gospel to each new person.
We are not important messengers, but lowly servants working for a glorious Father. Truly, with Christ and in the Father, to serve is to reign. But we shall always be on this earthly plane mere servants. Let us be stripped of any air of importance or self-conceit and embrace this journey as a weary pilgrim accepts the dust which is carried in the wind.
It is, afterall, what Christ did Himself.