Not even Jesus was loved by everyone. Creator of the world and the gospel of peace and love. The actual one person that could heal, restore, and bring peace to our broken world was killed by it.
The Gospel of John says “He was in the world, and the world was created through him, and yet the world did not recognize him.” John 1:10
Imagine creating something with your own hands: a painting, a story, a meal, a piece of furniture. Now imagine not getting credit for it, and actually being despised by it and the people that admire it. They enjoy your creation, but they don’t recognize you as the creator, and in fact despise you. It would hurt–a lot. For me, it would feel like the very thing I created was stolen from me.
I imagine that’s what it must have been like for Jesus. He knew everyone by name–knew their history, their mistakes, their joy–and loved them deeply. And yet they rejected Him, called Him a false prophet, and demanded His death.
Jesus was deemed a threat to religious leaders–He was a threat to their power, their greed. How could they keep power over the people when He, so much more compelling than the misinterpreted laws of the Pharisees, was inviting people into a life of freedom and hope rather than rules and punishment?
Jesus questioned the very rules the Pharisees lived their lives by, so they wanted Him dead.
I had a moment of realization as I thought about that verse from John. If Jesus, Creator of the world and the message of hope and peace, was not liked by everyone, why in the world do I feel the need to be?
I take people’s opinions of me way too seriously. I hyper-focus on neutral comments that weren’t meant to be criticism and wonder “what did they mean by that? Am I doing something wrong?” Some days it feels like every choice I make goes through the lens of “how will this be perceived by others?”
Let me tell you what you’re probably already thinking: that’s exhausting… and pointless. Because the honest truth is that I will never get everyone’s approval and neither will you.
Jesus tells us during the Sermon on the Mount: “You are blessed when they insult you and persecute you and falsely say every kid of evil against you because of me. Be glad and rejoice, because your reward is great in heaven.” Matthew 5:11-12a
We are to expect opposition, dislike, and persecution. Jesus doesn’t go on to explain a strategy for winning all of those haters over, but tells us that we are salt and light, representatives of His Kingdom.
So rather than focusing on what others might think of me, I want to refocus on who Jesus calls me to be. If I am following in His footsteps and living by His example, opposition will come, but it will not overcome me.
Who’s opinion are you living for?