Does the World Hate You? (1 John 3:13)
By Lynette Kittle
“Do not be surprised, my brothers and sisters, if the world hates you” - 1 John 3:13
Are you scratching your head today, surprised by the current cultural climate towards Christians? Are you hearing reports of singing being banned inside churches and worship services forbidden within the building?
As well, have stories of churchgoers being fined for just parking outside their churches, pastors being arrested, and houses of worship deemed “non-essential” in our society, catching your attention?
If so, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to any of us who know what God’s Word says about the reception Jesus received on earth. He explains in John 15:18, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.”
Still among Christians, there seems to be a disbelief at what is happening in our society, as if they don’t understand and didn’t see it coming. But as Proverbs 29:27 explains, the wicked detest the upright.
Yet, in today’s culture of trying to get the most likes, views, and followers on social media, many believers have become more interested in gaining cultural love and approval than dealing with the hate sure to come when we love Jesus more than we love the world.
Likewise, many churches are adopting worldly attitudes and actions into their services and programs in attempts to attract larger crowds through their doors.
However, in doing so, are Christians losing site of what it means to follow Jesus? Are some pastors leaving their congregations malnourished in the Word of God, as well as unprepared to face a hateful world?
As believers in Jesus, John 15:19 explains, “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.”
Isn’t being chosen by Jesus and belonging to Him worth being hated by the world?
Still, wanting to be popular and liked by people more than being known as belonging to Jesus isn’t a new thing. John 12:43, describes how, “Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in Him. But because of the Pharisees they would not openly acknowledge their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue; for they loved human praise more than praise from God.”
Growing up as a pastor’s kid, it didn’t take long for me to figure out how when other kids discovered my Dad was a pastor at a local church, most didn’t hang around for long. Feeling rejected and left out, I learned how to skirt the issue and avoid mentioning his ministry.
Yet, funny how unlike me, my future husband walked around high school wearing a big wooden cross around his neck and carrying his Bible everywhere he went. Interestingly, his boldness and willingness to be rejected by others for his faith was one of the main things that drew me to him. Now I realize how even though I thought I truly loved God growing up, my actions seem to point to my loving human acceptance more.
Like I thought growing up, maybe there are those who truly believe they love God most but are living more concerned about being liked by people, than being known as a believer in Christ.
If during these chaotic and unstable times, you find yourself surprised by the world’s hatred towards Christians, ask what Galatians 1:10 urges. “Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.”
If the world does hate you, be encouraged by Jesus’ words in Mark 13:13. “Everyone will hate you because of Me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.”
Lynette Kittle is married with four daughters. She enjoys writing about faith, marriage, parenting, relationships, and life. Her writing has been published by Focus on the Family, Decision, Today’s Christian Woman, iBelieve.com, kirkcameron.com, Ungrind.org, Startmarriageright.com, growthtrac.com, and more. She has an M.A. in Communication from Regent University and serves as an associate producer for Soul Check TV.
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