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Dear COA Family,

Recently while I was visiting a hospital to minister to the elderly there, I was threatened by the
security: “If you proselytise to the patients, we will bar you from entering this hospital in future!”
I assured them that I was only there to pray for the Christian patients.

Subsequently, I counselled and prayed for God’s peace and joy to fill one of the elderly patients.
She had lost all hope to live and wanted to die due to her multiple health ailments. However, she
was encouraged and helped very much by my prayers for her. We established a wonderful friendship
and she would share much of her life with me.

Yet when her niece learnt that I, a Protestant minister, was praying for her (a Roman Catholic), she
was incensed. She called the hospital to threaten that the next time I approach her auntie to counsel
and pray for her, she would take drastic action against the hospital. Naturally, I was warned again to
stop meeting up with her. And I felt sad that I could not continue to encourage the patient.

From these incidents, you can safely say that I am not Mr Popular. There are strong reactions, even
hateful feelings that were generated in people’s hearts against me.

How do I respond to such reactions? Well, the word of God is of great instruction and comfort to me.

Jesus says, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world,
it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of
the world. That is why the world hates you” (John 15:18-19).

The first thing that we learn is that it is not uncommon for us to be hated as disciples of Christ. The
world has always hated Christ and will hate us too. So we shouldn’t be too surprised.

Some Christians have expressed their surprise to me that they are unwelcomed by their friends even
though they have tried to love others with the love of Christ. Jesus tells us of the root cause: darkness
will always hate the light. This truth will never change.

The second thing we learn is that we should choose to receive the acceptance and praise from God
alone. Be satisfied with God’s approval and you will not be affected by the opinions of men. I have
long ago learned to not take the responses of humans to heart but to focus on pleasing the Lord
Jesus alone. I know that I will receive the reward that he has prepared for me.

If we adopt this mindset, it will help us not to be too discouraged by the responses of others towards
us but help us persevere in pleasing the Father through the power of the Holy Spirit.

God bless,
Revd Ian