If you play hockey in a full-contact league, do not be surprised if you get body-checked. If you go outside when it’s raining, do not be surprised if you get wet.
And if you follow Jesus, do not be surprised if the world hates you. The apostle John says that very thing in 1 John 3:13: “Do not be surprised, my brothers and sisters, if the world hates you.”
So how should we respond? We should respond with love.
In the very next verse, John says: “Anyone who does not love remains in death.” And just in case you think our love should only be directed to those who share our faith, remember Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:44: “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…”
Martin Luther King Jr. said: “do to us what you will, and we will still love you. Put us in jail and we will go in with humble smiles on our faces… Threaten our children, bomb our homes and do all of the things of violence that you think will defeat our movement and we will still love you… But be assured that we will wear you down by our capacity to suffer. One day, we will win our freedom. But we will not only win freedom for ourselves. We will so appeal to your heart and your conscience that we will win you in the process. Therefore, our victory will be a double victory.”
Wow, that’s inspiring. I don’t expect many of you to be subject to the same kind of daily opposition which King faced. But it does re-focus our attention on Jesus’ command to love—no matter what.
-When people make fun of you because of your faith, respond with love.
-When people introduce legislation which is contrary to God’s will, respond with love.
-When you or your children miss out on an opportunity because you stand with Jesus, respond with love.
When someone mistreats you or someone you can about, it can be tempting to seek vengeance. But that’s God’s job. (Romans 12:19). We have been liberated from the stress, strain and sin of retribution.
We are called to respond to hate with love.
–“Persecution, falling away, and being hated according to Jesus.” That’s a Bible study podcast episode I put together based on John 15:18 – 16:4. Click here to listen, or tune in to ‘The Pulse Podcast with Matthew Ruttan’ wherever you subscribe.
–Bible quotes are from the NIV.