A Change Of Perspectives
Updated: Sep 2, 2019
Chan Gin Kai
All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this. They got up, drove him out of the town, and took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him off the cliff. But he walked right through the crowd and went on his way. Then he went down to Capernaum, a town in Galilee, and on the Sabbath he taught the people. They were amazed at his teaching, because his words had authority. (Luke 4:28-32)
Rejected by his own people in Nazareth, Jesus went to Capernaum, where he carried on teaching in the synagogues. They had just tried to throw him off a cliff in Nazareth, but Jesus carried on with his ministry as though nothing had happened! He didn’t mope around in fear of more rejections, and he wasted no time in self-pity either. He went to a different town, with the same message. And this time, the people were a lot more receptive.
Jesus was relentless. If he was turned down in one place, he simply moved on to another. And this was the pattern he kept to as he preached in many villages, towns and cities across Israel.
Jesus was loved by some and loathed by others. When people adored him, he didn’t allow it to get to his head; and when they abhorred him, he didn’t allow it to get to his heart. Whether he was revered or rejected, he preached God’s message.
But why wasn’t Jesus affected? It was about having the right perspective. His focus was not on himself. He set his eyes on God and his determination to save the lost.
We often allow ourselves to be affected by how people react to us as we serve God and His people. That is because we take how people treat us with the wrong perspectives.
Perspectives On Being Rejected
Have you ever felt discouraged by rejections when you try to tell people about God? I am sure many of us have. Unless you’ve got an incredible faith, amazingly thick skin or never actively evangelised before, I am sure you would have felt it too.
But if we get our perspective right, we will realise that it is not our loss when they reject our message. They have lost an opportunity for salvation while we have only lost a bit of time and effort.
We are “Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us” (2 Corinthians 5:20). We are bringing God’s message of reconciliation to the people around us. Whenever people reject our message, they are not rejecting us, but God. We should feel sorry for them, not sorry for ourselves.
Perspectives On A “Loss Of Freedom”
Have you ever felt stifled by the ‘regimentation’ of church and envied non-Christians’ apparent freedom to do whatever they want? I’ve certainly felt that way before. But is what they have really something for us to admire? And are they really free?
"When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life” (Romans 6:20-22). We are slaves either way. But we do have a choice on what we are enslaved by. And let's not forget the consequences of being slaves to sin, and the rewards of being slaves to righteousness.
We didn’t lose our freedom; we gained righteousness through Christ. Non-believers don’t have more freedom; they are imprisoned by sin.
Perspectives On People Not Turning Up
Have you ever felt disheartened when fellow brothers and sisters don’t turn up for church services or small group meetings? It does get a little more discouraging when you're the organiser of the activity or the leader of the group, doesn't it?
Again, it is not our loss, because they have not rejected the group or us. They have missed out on a chance to draw closer to God, while we have benefited from the fun and fellowship of a loving community. We should be concerned for them, and help them draw closer to our spiritual family. But why should their absence get us down, as though we were disadvantaged? How are we disadvantaged when we get to hear the Word of God, bond closer with other disciples and have a good time?
Let's enjoy our time together and grow from the meetings we attend. The ones who are absent will eventually realise from our joy and growth that they've missed out a lot by skipping the various activities we have.
We need a change of perspectives. When people turn us down as we share the gospel, remember that it is their loss, not ours; and they’ve rejected God, not us. Whenever we feel stifled as Christians and yearn for “freedom”, remember that being free from God means we become enslaved by Satan, there’s no in-between.
When we change our perspectives and realise how incredibly blessed we are, we will no longer be affected by how people respond as we serve God.
Chan Gin Kai
Gin Kai is a film producer who believes in the power of media to inspire positive changes. He has spearheaded disaster relief and capacity building projects in impoverished communities across Asia. In church, he serves as a mentor to young professionals in the EDGE Ministry. He describes himself as "just a sinner who wants to get right with God".