Unfortunately, it's pretty unlikely I'll ever have even a majority of people agreeing with what I say, because one of the things I pen is a controversial column from a family values standpoint that appears in several secular papers. Hate mail seems par for the course.
But this week I had a new perspective on that, from two stories in the news. The first occurred in my hometown of Belleville, where a 24-year-old was arrested for spitting on the war cenotaph right before the Remembrance Day ceremonies. It's hard to think of something much more despicable, and he was soundly condemned, but there you go.
The second was from a new poll out showing the popularity, or lack thereof, of our current political leaders. Harper's way on top, Dion is eating dust, and no one else is doing tremendously well. But what really interested me was the 20% who said none of the above.
The question was not: "do you like any of the political leaders", but simply "of the leaders we have right now, who would make the best Prime Minister?". In other words, you could hate the whole bunch and still answer the question. But 20% of people chose to be negative and difficult instead. I bet that 24-year-old war memorial spitter would have said the same thing.
There is a significant portion of our population that will be negative no matter what. And some of those people sit in our pews.
We are never going to please everyone. Jesus didn't even please everyone. And the urge to be liked and affirmed by people, while natural, is not something we should nurture. Instead, we need to look to God for our approval.
That can be hard, but in all honesty, does it really matter what these negative people think? Sometimes it can be a badge of honour to be disliked, as long as one is disliked by the right people.
The only thing that really counts is what God thinks of us. He's the one who designed the specific good works He wants us to do, and He's the one who gives us the words to say. It doesn't matter how people take those words. It is only our job to speak them.