"You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life."
-Sir Winston Churchill
This quote caught me rather off guard recently.
Now, I'm not claiming Winston Churchill was perfect in any way, but as the Prime Minister of The United Kingdom for the large part of World War II, he certainly knew what it meant to have enemies—both personal and of state.
It's so easy to get too caught up with getting everyone on side—being everyone's friend—that, while we may indeed be well liked, it compromises our faith. And also our ability to be any kind of a good example, or representative of Christianity.
In James 4:4, The Bible makes this clear: "Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God."
Now, I don't believe this is a call to go and get as many people off side as possible.
In fact, the Bible also says quite clearly that it should not be our deeds that cause people to be our enemies.
In Proverbs 25:21: "If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink."
And earlier, in Exodus 23:4-5: "If you come across your enemy’s ox or donkey wandering off, be sure to return it. If you see the donkey of someone who hates you fallen down under its load, do not leave it there; be sure you help them with it."
And in Leviticus, Matthew, Mark, Luke, Romans, Galatians, and James we are instructed to "love your neighbour as yourself".
But what The Bible doesn't say is "it's okay to have others' opinions of you as your first priority".