If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.
Hating the Message
It is so easy to take the heat of the hate of unbelievers who attack those who share the Gospel. This discouraged me for many years until I heard one wise mentor of mine say “they hate the message more than the messenger.” That is so true. So I learned not to take the hate personally because they hated the message more than me. They hated Jesus during His earthly ministry, so why shouldn’t they hate me, too? They don’t want to hear about God because most unbelievers cling to their sin and love it, just as I did for so long. Jesus didn’t just warn us but assured us that we will be hated, not for our sake but for His sake (Matt. 10:22). So never take rejection of the Gospel you share with others personally. The world’s going to hate Christians like you and me because we are not part of the world (John 15:19).
Blessed for Being Cursed
Believe it or not, you are blessed when you are cursed–when they hate you, exclude you, and even revile you–because you are being treated this way for Christ’s sake (Luke 6:22). Imagine that! You are being blessed by being cursed. And some have actually cussed me out with profanity and said they were going to put a curse on me. But guess what–I was just blessed by that. I have been spit on; had doors slammed in my face; have been called an arrogant, narrow-minded bigot; and even had a cat chase me once, but I realized that I was just blessed by God for that.
The Spirit of Glory
I love what Peter wrote, that if you’re insulted for the sake of Christ, you have the Spirit of the Glory of God resting upon you (1 Pet. 4:14). Don’t you want that? I am not saying to go out and intentionally seek to be insulted or persecuted, but when you tell others that their sins have separated them from a holy God (Isaiah 59:1-2), they’re not likely to invite you over for dinner–let’s be realistic. Jesus said that anyone who chooses to not believe in Him has the wrath of God on them (John 3:36b) and is condemned (John 3:18). Therefore, we must be willing to tell the Gospel truth, even if it brings down the wrath of others upon us. So be it! Isn’t the greatest and kindest act of love we can ever do is to warn others of the coming wrath of God (Luke 3:7) unless they repent and believe? Why would we expect to be treated any differently by those in this world than the way Jesus was treated?
A Closing Prayer
God, give me the ability to know that it is not really me they hate but the message of Christ. I know I must be faithful in warning others about their need to repent and believe, just as Jesus did (Mark 1:15). So please help me to remember that since they hated Jesus, they will hate me, too, and to understand that I receive a blessing because of this. In Jesus’ name I pray.
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