"For even His brothers did not believe in Him."
"You just think that you're so good!" "Well, excuse me, Ms. Spiritual!" "You are so heavenly minded that you are no earthly good!" "Just because you are a Christian and go to church that doesn't make you better than me!"
Do any of those quotes sound familiar? It is often very difficult to be a believer in a world full of people that castigate you for your faith. Your trust in God is sincere, and you recognize better than any one else that it is only by God's grace that you have been accepted by Him. Your desire isn't to be an elitist. You want each and every person to know the joy of being a follower of Christ. It is so strange that we have to realize our sinfulness and imperfection to come to Christ, but once we do every one accuses us of thinking that we are perfect.
The toughest thing about those verbal barbs that are tossed our way is that they are usually said by people that we love and are very close to. If these comments came from complete strangers, we would probably ignore them entirely because they do not really know us. However, when it comes from people that do know us, it makes it so tough to hear and to live with. So how do you handle it? How do you reply to these hurtful and stinging remarks?
First, realize that Jesus knows exactly how you feel. Even His own brothers did not believe that He was the Messiah. I have to say here that it would be difficult for any of us to believe that one of our siblings was the Messiah. Can you imagine them hearing Mary say, "Why can't you be more like Jesus?" Hello! He's Jesus! Seriously, Jesus lived His own life being denied by every one that He was close to. One of His disciples would betray Him. The unspoken leader of the twelve would deny Him three times in His presence. The rest of them would abandon Him in His greatest hour of need. When you feel the pain of others' doubt and accusations of self-righteousness, realize that Jesus knows how you feel, and He is there to comfort you.
Second, keep living like Christ in front of those that would accuse. You may argue, "But that is exactly what they don't like about me!" Two verses after the above text Jesus acknowledges that the world hates Him. He later tells His disciples that the reason that the world hates them is because they hated Him first. You are really not the object of people's ridicule. They don't mind you so much. It is Jesus that they cannot stand. Your consistency of walk and example will allow the Holy Spirit's work to continue in that loved one's heart. They will learn as much by your walk as they will your word.
Here is the big question? Will this life of consistency work even with my closest loved ones? I cannot see the future, but I can give you encouragement from the Word. There are two small letters written toward the end of the Bible by James and Jude. Guess what? These men are commonly accepted as Jesus' brothers.
May you live like Jesus today!