When lines are drawn in the sand and people begin to choose sides, suddenly the things that make believers unique in this world will make them targets of hate and slander. Why? Because we are not of this world, we are only staying in it for a while. We are only temporary residents until the Lord’s return.
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““If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.”
John 15:18-19 NKJV
If you have ever been judged, excluded, mocked or ghosted for simply being a christian or perhaps for standing firm on your Christ-like beliefs or values, you may know what it is to be hated by the world. As a teenager, I was many times excluded from gatherings or parties because I was considered the “good girl.” Not a bad title to be sure, but a frustrating one as a teen in the 1990’s. Though I can’t say I regret missing those events, I can see now how often I was judged for my beliefs and I didn’t even realize it. This even happened, and often happened, in christian youth group settings. Not every church goer is a firm believer or grounded in their faith, that especially goes for the youth. We don't need to judge them or be angry at them for it. instead, we simply need to lead them by example.
In this chapter, Jesus clearly tells us that we are hated by the world because they hate Him and we stand for everything He represents. When the world feels that believers are making them look bad or feel bad about something, they will many times go on the attack. They don’t hate you because you are you. They hate what you represent, which is everything that makes them feel guilty and reminds them that they are sinners.
The pharasees hated Jesus because He let them know that they were hypocrites and liars. They didn’t want to look bad in the eyes of the world so they hated Jesus for seeing through them. We don’t have to hate others just because they hate us. In fact, Jesus told us to show love to those who hate us. We should have mercy on those who hurt us just as God has mercy on us every day.
In fact, the Bible tells us to count it all joy when we are persecuted for His name’s sake. I realize that’s much easier to say than to accomplish when you are mistreated, but it’s a reminder that we are treated this way for a reason and that reason is the reflection of Jesus in our lives. If my life is going to reflect anyone or anything in the eyes of others, I want it to be Jesus Christ.
When it comes to mistreatment in Christian circles, we need to be forgiving and understanding. We all have struggles and those that are believers in Christ are struggling a little more because we have the conviction of the Holy Spirit. We are trying to fix the wrong things in our lives but that doesn't make us perfect. I pray you will have hop and forgiveness in your heart today for those who may have mistreated you. Pray for them and encourage them, for you never know how the Lord may use you in their lives.