“If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. If you were of this world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.” John 15:18, 19 (NASB)
My grandson celebrated his 16th birthday recently with a party attended by around 20 friends. Jaren is a committed Christian and I wrote a short paragraph in his card commending his growth and maturity in Christ. The sentiment was intended for him to read privately but he chose to read it to the group, which was fine with me. I guess I ought not to have been surprised at the response but many of his teenage friends jeered when he mentioned Christ along with a sprinkling of derisive laughter. It hurt to hear such open antagonism from kids that were just 15 or 16 years old, not because they were laughing at my grandson but because of the obvious disdain I heard concerning my Lord Jesus Christ.
I tend to want to jump in and defend God forgetting He needs no defense. Every second He hears a lot more unsavory thoughts and comments about Him than I could ever imagine but responds with tremendous grace and restraint. That grace is truly astounding. I am daily thankful for the trite and overused expression ‘God is love’ for it remains true. It will be evident at the final day when those who reject Him see Him as He is in all His love, beauty, and holiness. At that time they will ask “Why did I push this person and such love away from me?” They will have time to reflect on that question as they, by their own choice to be separated from Him on earth, are separated from Him for all eternity.
Christ said people would hate us because they hated Him first. It is amazing that there would even be deep seated hatred of one so pure and good. If we were following the world’s view of self we would be familiar to it and would not be held in such contempt for the world would love us as their own. We are ‘other worldly.’ He warned us of this so when we felt the sting of the world’s hatred we would be reminded they hated Him before they hated us. It’s OK. The burden is on His shoulders and they’re big enough to carry it.