John 15:18-27 –
“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have been guilty of sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. Whoever hates me hates my Father also. If I had not done among them the works that no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin, but now they have seen and hated both me and my Father. But the word that is written in their Law must be fulfilled: ‘They hated me without a cause.’
“But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me. And you also will bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning.
If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.
Have you ever felt hated? I would guess that most of us have at one point or another felt hated. Most of us have had someone treat us so badly that we cried. They may have even beaten us, swore at us and ruined our self-esteem. Have you ever been hated for your faith? Have you ever had anyone dislike you because of your beliefs. To be honest, I haven’t felt that much. I have mostly surrounded myself with other Christians, not even necessarily by choice, but because of circumstances, my free time has mostly been used up at the church. My family is made up mostly of believers, or at least they’re closely related to believers, so they seem to have a higher tolerance then the rest of the world.
Is this supposed to be comforting?
I have spent most of my life trying to get people to like me. I try to get along with pretty much everyone I meet, and I would even go so far as to say I’m quite tolerant. I don’t want people to hate me. I want people to like me. Jesus saying, “know that it has hated me before it hated you.” doesn’t bring me that much comfort. To be honest, it would be a lot easier for me if people liked Him more too. I don’t want to have debates with people about their faith. I want to be able to enjoy who they are as a person. I want to have them be able to not be offended by my God so we can all “get along”. I wish my beliefs were not offensive, but they are offensive.
If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own
So here’s my dilemma – I want to be liked, but if I’m being liked by everyone, does that mean I haven’t been stating my faith clearly enough? Do I have to be confrontational to be clearly Christian? Do I have to make people uncomfortable? I don’t want to. I want to get a long with everyone. I want to be diplomatic and non controversial. I want people to like me. It is more important to me to be true to my Lord. I want to be able to be bold for my faith. I know that’s not going to make some people happy, but I do want to be able to stand up for what I believe.
But because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you
That’s it then, I’m hated. The world hates me. They can’t tolerate my beliefs. They can’t tolerate that I want to serve a Lord who doesn’t let those who don’t believe in Him into heaven. People want to say that God excludes people, but He doesn’t He loves each of us the same. No matter what our background, sin of choice or eye color, Jesus loves them. He laid down His life for everyone. Christianity is actually the most inclusive faith around. Jesus says if you believe in Him you will be saved. That’s it. He sends His Holy Spirit to work faith in our hearts, and if we don’t turn away from Him, denouncing Him, but instead believe what He says is true, you will have eternal life. The world still doesn’t want to hear that God is tolerant. They don’t want to change how they’re living, and when you start to believe in the Lord, He changes your heart. Not always in drastic ways, but change is usually uncomfortable. People don’t like it. They want to continue on the way they have always been with their focus on their own wants, not on what God wants for them. So instead of giving into the change and having the Lord work in their hearts, they reject Him and tell lies about Him.
But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me.
So as Christians we’re bound to have haters, or at least those who, like me avoid the subject. Sometimes it will be your extended family who will not be open to the changes that are happening in your life. They may not be able to accept your new-found faith. Your life may now make them uncomfortable as they feel the need to make a stand of disbelief. I think most people avoid talking about their spiritual beliefs, because they don’t want to look silly, because they feel they don’t know how to defend their faith, and because others feel conflicted and defensive when the topic arises. People will argue with you, people will want to change your mind and yes people might hate you, but we Christians are not of this world. Heaven is our home. We need to be able to defend our faith and stand up for what we believe. I don’t like that much. I want life to be easy, and I want everyone to like me. But it is more important to me that I stay true to my Lord than have friends here on earth.
Are you hated?