How Do We Respond to Unpopular Messages?
Not Liking What Someone Says Doesn’t Give Us the Right to Silence Them
The prophet Jeremiah faithfully informs the people of the message God gives him. But they don’t like what they hear. They oppose Jeremiah and his unpopular messages.
Unpopular Messages in Bible Times
Throughout his lengthy ministry, Jeremiah faces continued opposition and persecution. Though he occasionally has a few people protect him from more harm, most people oppose him for his unpopular messages.
A contemporary of Jeremiah is Uriah, son of Shemaiah. Uriah prophesies the same things that Jeremiah does, but Uriah doesn’t have anyone advocating for him and his well-being. The king wants to kill Uriah for his unpopular prophecy.
Uriah hears of the king’s plan and flees the country to hide out in Egypt. But this isn’t far enough away. The king sends someone to hunt down Uriah. They capture him, bring him back, and kill him, tossing his body in a common burial pit. This is a most undignified end for God’s prophet.
Remember that neither Jeremiah or Uriah did anything wrong or said anything wrong. It’s just that the people didn’t like their messages. And these two prophets paid a high price for saying what was unpopular.
Unpopular Messages in Society
Today we exist in a polarized world, especially in the United States. People with unpopular ideas face being shouted down, vilified, or attacked. Though death threats aren’t often the outcome, death threats are. These attacks come from people who feel they are in the right, which they assume gives them the moral superiority to act the way they do. These voices come against anyone who doesn’t fit the popular narrative of the day.
Unpopular Messages in the Church
It would be nice to think that God’s people don’t act like the society they live in. But they do. It’s a sad outcome when the world influences God’s people instead of God’s people influencing the world.
If a preacher takes a biblical stance that doesn’t align with the PC-thinking crowd, they’re vilified and attacked, both by the media and many in the church. Their unpopular words may cause them to lose their job, be effectively run out of town, or have their career ruined.
I wonder what God thinks about us when we do this.God sends his messengers to us. We better listen, even if we don’t like what we hear. Click To Tweet
God sends his messengers to us. We better listen, even if we don’t like what we hear.
Peter DeHaan writes about biblical spirituality, often with a postmodern slant. He seeks a fresh approach to faith and following God through the lens of scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.