Do not be surprised, my brothers and sisters, if the world hates you. – 1 John 3:13
How does the thought of begin hated for following Jesus make you feel?
John says not to be surprised if the world hates us. Reflecting the image of God will elicit a response from a world that does not understand and must confront their own sense of shame. It was this sort of shame that incited Cain to hate and kill his brother Abel.
Looking around at the church in our culture, we do seem genuinely surprised when the world pushes back against our beliefs.
One response we offer is to compromise. There are attempts to make the truth that we are immersed in more palatable. This effort to be liked and win affirmation voids the power of freedom and transformation that Christ Himself promises.
There are many tough truths in the gospel, whitewashing them or saying that they don’t apply to modern culture takes away the cross that some must carry to be conformed into the image of Christ. People are being held back in captivity by compromise.
Another response is to intentionally drum up hatred. As if Jesus and John saying to expect resistance means that we need to produce it ourselves. So we see a version of “in your face” Christianity that seems very far from the example that Christ demonstrated.
This warning about being hated is not to be used as a way to build identity. Every effort is to be made to live in peace with everyone. Yet this goes hand in hand with holiness (Hebrews 12:14), because that is how people see Christ. If we are hated, it is to be Christ in us that the world hates, not our attitudes or lack of compassion.
What things do you avoid saying or actions do you suppress in order to avoid being hated?
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