“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. John 15:18
They called me “church girl”, those two boys who sat behind me in history class. It didn’t bother me much, I was a baby Christian and completely “on fire” for Jesus at the time. Based on their lewd comments I often overheard and their somewhat obnoxious 16 year old, testosterone-driven banter I was subjected to, I made certain assumptions about them–that they were unchurched and a bit ‘wild’. Despite this, I remained friendly, smiling outwardly at their sarcasm and teasing.
Their goading went on beyond the classroom, where I was held as a captive audience. They messed with me in the hallways, and in the lunchroom, joking about whether or not I needed to go pray, or how many times I might be attending church that week. Most of it really didn’t bother me.
And then one of these ungentlemanly boys asked me out on a date.
I made the mistake of saying yes.
Most Christians know the term missionary dating, and most who know the term, recognize the warning that often follows, which is to say: “Don’t do it!” (Based on the scripture in 2 Corinthians 6:14-18)
Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? 2 Corinthians 6:14-15
But I was a newish Christian, remember? And I was lit up for Jesus and confident that this agreement to date this boy who had tortured me verbally for months regarding my faith, was in fact not a bad move on my part.
I was 16.
And maybe deep down I wanted to be liked, rather than made fun of.
Not A Chance
The relationship was doomed from the start. He treated me poorly before we dated, and funny enough, He was only slightly kinder while we dated. I wasn’t very good at proselytizing and the more we were together, the more insecure I became. Jesus had my heart and I simply couldn’t be the non-churchy, “bad girl” this boy wanted. When he came wise to that fact, we split ways–he then proceeded to humiliate me whenever the opportunity arose. If he wasn’t around to do it, one of his buddies from the locker room made sure to get his digs in.
I switched lunch tables. I walked the long way to class to avoid passing his locker. I stayed out of that store he worked in at the mall. Soon after we split, he took up with a new girl. I felt sorry for her. She must have been as desperate as I was to date someone who treated girls so poorly–or maybe she wasn’t in love with Jesus. I don’t know.
It’s only as an adult that I am able to finally look back and see that his rejection of me wasn’t so much personal, as it was a rejection of my faith, a rejection of this Jesus who seemed to be everywhere I was. Jesus came between me and a few potential dating disasters. It wasn’t easy wearing the banner “church girl”. I embraced it with a smile from 7AM-2PM, Monday through Friday, but most days it was pure relief getting home after school.
Recounting this now, all these years feels a little strange. I hadn’t thought about it until Ed asked if I had something to contribute to this Hazardous link up. What does this have to do with anything now–I’m happily married to a man who not only loves me, but even more, loves Jesus wholeheartedly. You could call me “church girl” all day long and twice on Sunday and it would be true and I wouldn’t care.
But at 16, it burned like a scarlet letter.
Following Jesus is hazardous. The bible is plain about this, repeatedly in scripture.
All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. Mark 13:13
However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. 1 Peter 4:16
In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, 2 Timothy 3:12
The question is always the same, knowing what we know, that following Jesus can wreck your life in the best possible way, even though it may be painful–will you still follow Him?
Have you ever been rejected because of Jesus? What was that like?