14 But even though my condition tempted you to reject me, you did not despise me or turn me away. No, you took me in and cared for me as though I were an angel from God or even Christ Jesus himself. – Gal. 4:14 NLT
In this letter to the Galatians, Paul reminds them that he became as much like them as possible without violating his conscience. In our words today, we would probably say that he spent time making friends and building a bridge of confidence so that they would be more willing to listen to him. As the saying goes “people have to know you care before they care what you know”. As it turns out, Paul got to spend quite a bit of time in southern Galatia because of his sickness that he developed. This may have been the beginning of what Paul later referred to as “a thorn in the flesh”. It was very possibly a severe eye disease causing some amount of pain and facial dis-figuration. Paul implies that it might have made some of the people treat him badly and others would have plucked out their own eye and given it to him. But Paul pushes on and asks them the same questions we must ask ourselves and others today. Does our telling you the truth make us your enemy? Or once you know and understand the truth, does it make any sense to turn away from it? Just as Paul did, we have to get the people to understand that our witnessing to them is not because we feel that we are better or more holy than they are. It is because Jesus died for all of us simply because He loved us enough to do that for us. And His love for us requires us to show that same love to others.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
3 For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will reject the truth and chase after myths. 5 But you should keep a clear mind in every situation. Don’t be afraid of suffering for the Lord. Work at telling others the Good News, and fully carry out the ministry God has given you.–2 Timothy 4:3-5 (NLT)
We live in a society that could very easily be described by these verses. People follow their own desires and look for religions and worship centers that confirm their way of life. They do not want to be accountable to anyone. That is why the Name of Jesus upsets them. They don’t want to hear about relationships because having a relationship with someone requires us to know them and be accountable to them. So, the world rejects truth and chases after all the “feel good” religions that pop up. But we are to be clear about our beliefs and stand fast on the Word of God, never wavering. Yes, we will criticized and despised by the world. So was Jesus and He said we (the created) could expect the same treatment that He (the Creator) received. Nevertheless. we are to be “steadfast and immovable” in our faithfulness to Jesus Christ.