“Love Being Hated”
1 John 3:13
by Kendall Lowe
If there is anything I wish was different about Christianity and it’s place in the world, it would be the way the world looks at us. For much of the world we are a joke. Christians are equated to snobs and judgmental old people. We are viewed as not accepting of people who are “different” and as an exclusive club who thinks the worst of those who aren’t a part of it. While many stereotypes of what Christians are is the result of Christians who say they believe but live in ways that show they do not, a huge part of the reason Christians are viewed so negatively is just because we are. No amount of good deeds or service projects or outreach is going to change the way the world looks at those who have chosen to follow Christ. And I cannot help but wish that wasn’t the case.
However, when I read the words of John, I begin to think that that isn’t such a bad thing. John says “Do not be surprised if the world hates you.” When we live according to God’s Word and the example of Christ’s life, we tend to expose those who don’t. John gives the example of Cain and Abel. Because Abel’s act was so good and righteous, Cain was made painfully aware of how pitiful and halfhearted his actions were. He became angry and jealous, and in his hatred, he killed Abel. This is very accurately compared to the way the world sees us. When we live righteous lives, and when they see that happening, they become aware and shamed of their lives, or at least aware that we see their lives in that way.
While I can’t say that I enjoy the thought of someone hating me for following Christ, John gives us a bit of confidence in the fact that when we are hated by the world, we can remember two things. One, nothing is out of order or going wrong. “Do not be surprised” he says. And two, perhaps the world hating you is a sign that you are doing something right. Maybe it can encourage you that they see your actions as pure and righteous and resent you for it, since they themselves are lost and hurting. I’ve always heard it said when it comes to trials and temptations, “When you feel attacked by the world, it’s not because you are weak in faith. It’s because Satan is worried about what you are capable of.”