We can be “religious” about anything: exercise, cooking, sports, money, social activities, reading, gambling, social networking, online games, television, and gardening, to name a few. Accordingly, biblical Christians may feel offended when others refer to them as “religious.”
My former next-door neighbor confronted me the first day I met her. “Now I know you’re religious,” she said. Leaving the statement to hang in the air, she just looked at me. Dumbfounded, I had no response. We exchanged pleasantries and I retreated into my house. “Why did she say that to me? I just met her.” A couple of days later, I realized what happened. Mutual friends thought it important to alert my next-door neighbor that I was “religious.” That way, she could decide to stay away from me since many in society avoid religious people.
The persecution of Christians is rampant in many countries throughout the world, and many lose their lives for their faith. Persecution is subtler in America. We can encounter avoidance, ridicule, or sarcasm. When Christians feel snubbed or barely tolerated by their peer groups, they oppressed and rejected. Some may choose to avoid non-Christians in the future. That isn’t what Jesus did, nor should we. As uncomfortable as these situations are, biblical Christians are comforted by Jesus’ words “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first” (John 15:18).
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