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I have a bad habit of reading things in print that catch my eye. Whenever I see someone wearing a t-shirt with a message blazed across the front, I am drawn to read it. Sometimes I wish I hadn’t wasted my energy and sometimes I am amused or enlightened. In a day of extreme mass marketing, it is possible to see someone wearing any type of message or advertising.
Some time ago I noticed a young man wearing a t-shirt with these words across the front “Often Loved, Often Hated but Never Ignored.” As I read those words, my mind went racing to a scriptural application. (Preachers do that, you know. I suppose it is how we are wired. ) The words on that young mans t-shirt should be the motto for the church. We are supposed to be N-O-T-I-C-E-D in this world.
Someone said of the apostle Paul that wherever he went, there was either a revival or a riot or both. He was either loved, with his message received and followed or he was hated with efforts being made to shut him up. Either way, he was not going to be ignored.
In Acts Chapter 4, following the healing of the lame man at the gate,Peter and John were brought in for questioning by the Jewish elders. Verse 13 says, “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and
John and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men (untrained and uneducated), they marveled and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.” The apostles were met with fierce opposition by some and with amazement and belief by others. Either way, they were noticed in a world that needed to see a church in action and to hear the message of Christ that only the church can bring.
In Matthew 5:14, Jesus says, “You are the light of the world. A city that set on a hill cannot be hid.” This world is a place of spiritual darkness, desperately in need of spiritual light. It is God that put that light within the church and he expects us to let that light shine into the world. He never called us to sit isolated by ourselves until He comes. He said we are to be visible, so the world may see Him and His works in us, and bring Him glory.
In John 15;18 and 19, in speaking to the disciples, Jesus explains that the world would hate us, because the world hated him first. He also said that if we were of the world, the world would hate us. He is not advocating that we go about trying to make enemies or to encourage anyone to hate us. However, He is saying that when we stand for the truth of His word without compromise, we will have enemies. As the words on the young man’s tee shirt says, we are either going to be loved or hated, but we will not be ignored. May we the church, adopt these words as our motto.
(Johnny Hoskins is pastor of the Williamstown Church of God.)