Monday, April 19, 2021
The world is increasingly being governed by hate. No longer do we commend what is good. Instead, we condemn what is different. We seek to destroy anything that contradicts our personal preferences, opinions, viewpoints, and choices. Hatred of others for the sole purpose of personal gain is the systemic problem of the human heart. It’s called pride.
Unfortunately, the hatred by the world of those who follow Christ Jesus is going to grow. Jesus promised it. But He declared that there is only one reason that the world should hate us: it hated Him first.
John 15:18 “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.”
This promise of Jesus MUST be understood in the context of His teaching in John 15. Jesus has been teaching His disciples that when He leaves them to go back to the Father in glory, He will come back to us in the Person of the Holy Spirit and dwell in us. The life of Jesus becomes our life. Therefore, the world will hate us because of the life of Jesus in us.
It is true that Christians today are hated by the world. Some are hated for their political views. Some are persecuted for their views on sexuality and family life. Many are hated because they speak of a love for Jesus yet do not love people as Jesus loves them. It is unfortunate that so many Christians take joy in being hated for the wrong reasons.
There is only one reason for the world to hate the followers of Jesus: because they are the visible manifestation of the life of Jesus in them. The world will hate us because it hated Jesus. The world will hate us because when they see us and interact with us they are seeing Jesus.
Oh, my dear friends who call yourselves Christians, is it possible that the world hates you for some other reason than the single fact that your life resembles Christ? Could it be that you are claiming the joy of being persecuted like Christ without actually being like Christ? Is there a chance, any chance, that the suffering you are experiencing is because the world sees the hypocrisy of your claims when they observe your attitudes and actions?
This is heart-wrenching. It should be. The promise of Jesus for peace when we suffer is only so valid as our determination to be like Jesus in thought, in words, and in actions. When we truly learn to love one another the way we are loved by Christ, then we may take joy in knowing that we are suffering as He did. Until then, the suffering you may be experiencing is not because the world hates you, but because the Father hates the sin in you. He is cleansing you so that you will abide in Jesus, and love others as He loves you. Then you will suffer for the right reason – because the world will see Jesus in you.