“Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets.”
In Luke’s record of this great teaching of Christ, Jesus addresses one of the common tendencies of mankind. All of us like to be accepted. We want others to think well of us and to speak well of us. However, this desire for acceptance can sometimes lead to serious problems in our lives. Some will do and say things that are not proper, in order that they might gain acceptance. Young people so strongly crave the approval of their peers, they may at times violate their own conscience in order to have that acceptance.
Preachers can even do the same thing. They may be tempted to compromise the Word of God, avoid certain subjects, or emphasize some things in order to have the approval of others. Jesus makes it clear in these words that it is not necessarily good when everyone agrees with us, or when everyone approves of us. As a matter of fact, He says that having the support of every person is an indication that there is probably something very wrong with our message or our ministry. Christ referred to the ancient Jews in saying that they spoke well of the false prophets.
Because someone speaks well of us does not necessarily mean we are right. It may mean just the opposite. False prophets say what people want to hear, not what God says. We want to reach as many people as we possibly can for the cause of Christ, but not at the expense of compromising the Word of God or the integrity of the Lord’s work. Ministries that seek to provide programs and a style of worship based on the preferences of the majority are not Biblically based. When we are speaking the truth, there will always be those who contradict.
Jesus warned His disciples that the world would hate them because it hated Him first. The world has little appetite for the truth. When we speak the truth, even in love, there will always be those who oppose us. Trying to make our message compatible to everyone is not a worthy goal. We are not politicians, and popularity is not to be the measure of our ministries. Our ambition should be to please the Lord and to be true to the Holy Scriptures. None of us like the feeling of rejection or disapproval. But if we are going to follow the steps of our Master, there will be those who will not agree. Having His approval should be our ultimate desire.