On the Outside Looking In

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If you take a stand for what’s right --even if it means losing popularity, friends, or status-- you’re in line for eter­nally significant rewards.

Bible Reading: Mark 6: 1-6

A prophet is honored everywhere except in his own hometown and among his relatives and his own family—Mark 6:4

Logan and his classmate, Olivia were chubby, brainy, and homely. When year­book time rolled around, the two students were voted the most perfectly matched pair in their middle school, even though they hardly knew each other.

So when Logan and Olivia showed up hand in hand at the last dance of the school year, the kids snickered. And when the couple stepped into the dance area and awkwardly tried to move their uncoordinated bodies to the music, the crowd ex­ploded. Finally Olivia grabbed her partner by the hand and snorted, “Come on, Lo­gan!” The laughter should have ended there. Except Logan tripped and dragged Olivia to the ground with him. And they both bounced.

Unless you count yourself among the world’s cruel elite, you probably wince when you see a pair like Logan and Olivia mocked. You might not have this pair’s problems, but surely you know what it means to feel unwanted and unloved.

It’s hard to believe that Jesus could have faced that kind of rejection. But the apostle John says it bluntly: “Even in his own land and among his own people, he was not accepted” (John 1:11). The residents of planet Earth have erected a kind of “You don’t belong here” sign to their Creator, and if you check out Mark 6, you see that Jesus was even rejected by the people of Nazareth, the town where he grew up.

When you’re a Christian, you have to get ready for some rejection. Jesus didn’t leave any doubts that at times the world would snub-even hate-his followers: “I chose you to come out of the world, and so it hates you” (John 15:19). When a friend finds out that you won’t cut class with him because you figure obeying Christ means showing up for school, he might cross you off his list of friends. When a group of girlfriends discovers you don’t have any personal sexual adventures to brag about, they might kick you out in the cold. Your loyalty, purity, honesty, and dependability as a Christian will make you look as laughable to some people as Logan and Olivia looked to their peers.

There’s better news, though. Jesus promised a special blessing and reward for his rejected followers (see Matthew 5:11-12). You can coast along as a camouflaged Christian, dodging confrontation and rejection. But if you take a stand for what’s right-even if it means losing popularity, friends, or status-you’re in line for eter­nally significant rewards.

REFLECT: As a Christian you are guaranteed to face rejection. What makes it worth it?

PRAY: Ask God to make you strong even in the face of rejection for your faith.

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