Do people despise you?
What kind of Christian witness gets you despised? This does not sound too good, or is it?
Included in with a list of other adjectives, being “despised” has a softer presentation:
1Cr 1:27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;
1Cr 1:28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, [yea], and things which are not, to bring to nothing things that are:
1Cr 1:29 That no flesh should glory in his presence.
1Cr 4:10 We [are] fools for Christ’s sake, but ye [are] wise in Christ; we [are] weak, but ye [are] strong; ye [are] honorable, but we [are] despised.
But wait ! What does despised mean?
1. to look down on with contempt or aversion
2. to regard as negligible, worthless, or distasteful
despise may suggest an emotional response ranging from strong dislike to loathing.
contemn implies a vehement condemnation of a person or thing as low, vile, feeble, or ignominious
scorn implies a ready or indignant contempt <scorns the very thought of retirement>.
disdain implies an arrogant or supercilious aversion to what is regarded as unworthy
This means despised by everyone? … NO.
Christians should love one another, and respect each other. We are warned against strife, and wrong speech and unkindness. We are to walk in brotherly love, forgiving, and protecting one another, showing mercy.
True witness to unbelievers will bring persecution. They will despise the true believer, who is not ashamed of his faith, and lives it.
2Ti 3:12 Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.
Act 8:1 … And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles.
Suffering – Paul’s Example
2 Corinthians 11:23-27 tells us that during his ministry Paul was imprisoned, flogged, beaten with rods, stoned and shipwrecked. Many times he labored without food, sleep or adequate clothing.
Look at what he went through with most of those who heard him:
2Cr 11:23 Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I [am] more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft.
2Cr 11:24 Of the Jews five times received I forty [stripes] save one.
2Cr 11:25 Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep;
2Cr 11:26 [In] journeyings often, [in] perils of waters, [in] perils of robbers, [in] perils by [mine own] countrymen, [in] perils by the heathen, [in] perils in the city, [in] perils in the wilderness, [in] perils in the sea, [in] perils among false brethren;
2Cr 11:27 In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.
Why did he suffer to such extreme? For the sake of the gospel.
Even God was “mean” to him:
2Cr 12:7 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.
Paul, writing from prison, says to Timothy: “And of this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher. That is why I am suffering as I am.” (2 Timothy 1:11-12a.)
But with all this suffering, God’s response to Paul:
2Cr 12:9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
And, this is Paul’s response:
2Cr 12:10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
But what a horrible thing……to be despised. This is to be our goal? How can this be effective?
If we are this hated and disrespected, how can this do God or the gospel any good?
“Consider it pure joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance” (James 1:2,3).
Is James telling us to rejoice in our trials? No, he is not. If we look closely, and if we read on, we see that the basis of our joy is in what our suffering produces.
James is telling us that when the Christian faces trials it “produces endurance.” In other words, suffering has a purpose.
Suffering will either teach us that God is sufficient, or it will crush our faith in his goodness.
If suffering threatens our faith in the goodness of God, then it also threatens our ability to enjoy God.
And if suffering threatens our ability to enjoy God, then it also threatens our ability to glorify God.
Therefore, to endure suffering in faith, which includes persecutions, hatred, disrespect, being despised, and seen as worthless, actually positions us to enjoy and glorify God, as we see that the world no longer has a hold on our affections. Its opinion does not matter any more.
So, as we are rejected, all we have left is God. And when we come into his presence, we finally understand his joy. Because we finally endure to the end of the suffering, we are still available, with faith strong, to continue to witness to others.
If being despised stops us, then we do not have the right level of faith to impress anyone.
2. The psychological effects of being despised.
This is a deep trauma to the self esteem. We are wounded. The poison of others has been injected into our soul.
We are left paralyzed by the horror of the moment. It affects our public reputation, alienates us, and may destroy our career. What do we do now?
We are scorned, rather than listened to. Have we failed God, because are so despised in the world, that they reject the truth we have to offer? Is it our fault?
Did we do something wrong? Fellow Christians may avoid us, so they won’t be rejected either.
Stress increases, and the body functions are compromised, and resources depleted. We slow down emotionally, and life is just not that worth it anymore.
We wonder, is all this worth it? Where is God’s justice and mercy for us.
The scornful ones have plenty of mercy, and we are left to be destroyed.
How can a destroyed person have any value?
The answer comes in a conversation with Jesus, before his death:
Jhn 12:23 And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified.
Jhn 12:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abides alone: but if it die, it brings forth much fruit.
Jhn 12:25 He that loves his life shall lose it; and he that hates his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.
So, this is the mystery revealed.
We should hate our lives in this world. We must die, and be destroyed, that we may live. If we are not destroyed in the flesh, we will never produce the fruit that the Lord is looking for in us.
Jesus could not bear the fruit of salvation, unless he was despised, and destroyed. He also had to die to the flesh, so that he could overcome the death of this world, and come back to life, offering us life.
The hope of glory
Being destroyed only means the end of us in this world, but it is an open door to the next one.
We also have to die, so we can rise again.
We have to partake in the fellowship of Christ’s sufferings, in order to rejoice in the glory of his resurrection !!
Unless this spiritual death process occurs, the ego will remain strong in the person, and the flesh will rule.
Flesh rebels wars against the spirit.
As long as this flesh is at war with God, the Holy Spirit is quenched, and there is no fruit.
If you are despised, hurt, a fool, and unsuccessful according to man’s standards for godliness, you may be nearer to God than you think.
The path of holiness is a narrow path, and will be painful, but the destination is pure joy.
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