At a Bible study one night someone made a very interesting comment. One of the men stated that he recalls a pastor once telling him that whenever he hears that someone of the church is loved by absolutely everyone in the community - glowing reports of a wonderful personality and character - he feels a little suspicious of that. The reason he apparently feels this way is because he reasons that if someone is truly a witness for Christ they are going to be a little controversial because people aren't always receptive to the gospel message. As a Christian some people aren't going to like what you have to say and henceforth, they may decide they don't like you personally. He reasons that this is the indication that a Christian is doing what God calls them to do - helping to further the message of salvation through Christ Jesus regardless of the cost.
The reason I believe there is truth in that is because of the fact that it lines up with scripture. Jesus did state, "If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you." Jesus was right to the point and very outspoken and the religious leaders of the day stood around listening intently, seething over his words. He told them they were blind to the truth and he pointed out that they had no real love for God. And yes, they raged over his words, and hated. And so, it does seem true that anyone coming forward with the intent of speaking the full gospel message will more than likely be received at times with hostility in some form or another. It may or may not provoke a confrontation, but it will probably be made known in some way. Many of us, as Christians, don't confront people in a harsh way, but we do speak of our faith in Christ at any opportunity and along with that comes the explanation of a sinful condition and the need for God's forgiveness. That message may take time to find acceptance in the hearts of people. With some people it's an almost immediate understanding; with others it is not. God brings us to it but sometimes it can take time to reach a stubborn heart.
And so let's speak our faith and speak the gospel message with assurance, and remember to show love. People will respond to that. When they see genuine love and understanding - very real concern for others, they will respond to that. It's long been said that our actions speak louder than our words. And we should remember that if and when those times do come of facing some form of dislike (despite our best efforts) we should not feel discouraged because God is working even in that situation. Remember that we've done our part and we are relying on the wonderful Spirit of God to open the understanding needed in order to receive salvation through Christ. Let's be what God created us to be: The vessel He pours into for His glory.