No doubt about it. People are saying all kinds of bad stuff about Christians today. You can read it in the news and see it on TV. Christians are the only subgroup people are allowed to publicly ridicule today.
But why? Why are we ridiculed?
Is it because of Jesus? Is it because we are indentured to the Lord? Because we bear his name?
It is obvious already in Matthew’s gospel that identification with Jesus is the marker that brings one into the kingdom of heaven. Jesus says here that we should consider ourselves fortunate if we suffer, not just persecution, but even verbal defamation and vilification. But only if it is on account of Jesus.
There are many other reasons people today might speak against Christians:
- wing nut preachers make a bad impression
- overt hypocrisy is in the news, again and again
- many “Christian” ministries just want money and promise their followers the same
- false prophets pronounce judgment on the people in bridge collapses
- hurricanes, and earthquakes. And pandemics.
The list could, I suppose, go on. But it’s depressing. Anyway, you get the point. We all get lumped into a category because of the weird things people see. Christians are bad, even dangerous.
Fighting back against what people say is not included in this teaching. We have a lot to learn from Jesus.