“If the world hates you,” Jesus went on, “know that it hated me before it hated you. If you were from the world, the world would be fond of its own. But the world hates you for a reason: that you’re not from the world. No: I chose you out of the world. Remember the word that I said to you: servants are not greater than their masters. If they persecuted me, they will persecute you too.” (15:19-20)
If we totally fit into our world, is there a problem? If we think and act like our non-Christian neighbors, should we be concerned? If we are as liked by anybody we meet as anyone else, is that less than ideal? Jesus seems to think so.
Now let me ask a few more specific and potentially uncomfortable questions and invite you to respond and ask your own questions of this sort in your comments. Should we dress like the world? Should our budgets, pocketbooks, and retirement plans look different? Should our definitions of success be different? Should we be bothered by mainstream entertainment? Should we find it hard to embrace any particular political candidate and party completely?
But how much difference is too much and just makes us unnecessarily odd, not “persecuted”?