Blessed are you when men hate you, And when they exclude you, And revile you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of Man’s sake.
Hatred and exclusion aren’t things we like to experience, so we’ll do what we can to avoid them. However to what lengths will we go to maintain whatever acceptance, respect, security and comfort we may have?
Are we willing to compromise our Christian witness and the validity of the gospel we’ve been commanded to preach, just to maintain “freedoms” allegedly upheld by the political systems within our “western” societies?
And what if the hatred and exclusion leads to physical danger – even threatening our lives? Where would our priorities lie?
Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables? The sower sows the word. And these are the ones by the wayside where the word is sown. When they hear, Satan comes immediately and takes away the word that was sown in their hearts. These likewise are the ones sown on stony ground who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with gladness; and they have no root in themselves, and so endure only for a time. Afterward, when tribulation or persecution arises for the word’s sake, immediately they stumble. Now these are the ones sown among thorns; they are the ones who hear the word, and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. But these are the ones sown on good ground, those who hear the word, accept it, and bear fruit: some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred.