For they loved human praise more than praise from God. John 12:43 CSB
The message about Jesus Christ was heard by the people of Jerusalem, and there were some who believed in Him. However, they did not make it public because they were afraid of being tossed out of the synagogue and of being cast out of their society. Being a part of the Jewish society meant that there was a powerful stronghold that was hard to break. John might have judged them harshly here, but truthfully, he is right: their secret faith showed that they loved the praise from man more than the praise from God.
We are no different today. Sure, we all know how toxic our society is, but can be difficult to break past the culture of today. Yet we are called to a gospel that is counter cultural, a gospel that is disruptive in the natural man’s life. Those who believe in Christ are different, and those who follow Christ will see a sacrificial change from the status quo of the present. This is why Jesus told us to count the cost of following Him, because everything changes. And this can include friends, family, preferences, and, yes, our daily lifestyle. All of these are affected because of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Again, breaking free is not easy, but Jesus is better. This means that our life of faith in Christ should be known and not hidden, shared and not kept secret. We believe, not to hide Him away, but to allow Him to change us and to change the world. And yes, while this makes us different, the truth is that we are foreigners in this planet, citizens of heaven, ambassadors who have an assignment to tell others about our place of paradise. This is also why, when we think about this, it makes no sense to try to still hold on to the present day when we have so much better to come in the eternal future. Again, Jesus is better.
Praying that God speaks to you about this. May we all be open to others around us with our faith, and may we be salt and light to others as we share the love of Jesus!