In the 15th chapter of John, Jesus said: “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.”
So, if we all agree that Jesus, the Son of God. was keenly aware of reality, why are we so pre-occupied with tying to “liked” by the “world”? No sane person seeks to be hated or treated prejudiciously, but do I go out of my way to be liked, even when it runs contrary to my convictions and my loyalty to Jesus Christ? Is the adulation and approval of others something I crave—-perhaps far too often? Do I compromise what I believe so that I can appear “politically correct”.. .“properly informed”…”intelligent”…. or have I decided to follow Jesus?
I guess it’s a matter of determining where I want to “belong”? But for the life of me, the more I listen to NPR and CNN (or Fox News and Rush Limbaugh), read the newspaper and watch the events unfold all around this globe, the more I reflect that I do not belong here and frankly don’t want to! I yearn for something else, and I do feel that I do not “fit in here”. I pine for something else—something that this world will never be able to afford me and something that He has placed within my imagination.
But I must remember: He has chosen me (and you)—that’s why they hate all of that bear the name Christian. So as followers of Jesus, are we resolved to see “sin” as His Father sees it? And do I realize that the Father’s approval of me is based upon Jesus did for me to remove sin? Have I determined to allow sin to die within me and to expose sin around me?
I do think about who the “world” really does love, and who the “world” hates, and it is startling to see, particular in these dark times, how those whom I thought were tolerant and open-minded towards God, suddenly to suggest that God has no place, and is not even mentioned, in the during this horrible virus. It looks like the very suggestion that God allowed this to happen or has send this pandemic, brings about hateful and angry responses from those that are either biblical illiterate or do not want to believe that God does these kinds of things. Only a person unfamiliar with the Bible could deny that God does send plagues and catastrophes at times.
So don’t be surprised when you see pastors or churches or believers arrested, disbursed, ridiculed or even blamed for the tragedy of this virus. But we can be sure that that the One who loved us, loves us still. The world hates the things of God no less today than it did when Saint John penned those words over 2000 years ago.
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