(New Living Translation)
18 “If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first.19 The world would love you as one of its own if you belonged to it, but you are no longer part of the world. I chose you to come out of the world, so it hates you.20 Do you remember what I told you? `A slave is not greater than the master.’ Since they persecuted me, naturally they will persecute you. And if they had listened to me, they would listen to you.21 They will do all this to you because of me, for they have rejected the one who sent me….”
This teaching of Christ for those who love Him is not an easy one — but it’s generally quite clear. As a follower of Christ, I can expect to be rejected (at least) by the world.
I am the one who makes this difficult.
Sometimes I want to prove my loyalty to Christ by making the world hate me and then use this passage of Scripture as proof of my holiness. This certainly can complicate life and make things difficult. But really, in that case it is not the teaching which is difficult but rather my inappropriate application of the teaching. Bad logic says that if Christians are hated and I’m hated, then I am a Christian.
I know I addressed this just a couple days ago in the blog, but it keeps coming up.
Other times the difficulty is because this truth gets corrupted by my own desire to be liked by everyone. As pitiful as this sounds, I can delude myself into thinking that I can be a kinder, gentler person than Jesus — you know, more of the “let the little children come to me” and less of the “away from me you brood of vipers” language — and be liked more. Like it’s my job to play good cop to Jesus’ bad cop. I want to buy the world a Coke and lead us all in a chorus of Kum Ba Yah. Why can’t we all get along?!
Since we’re studying John 15 in Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) this week, I’ll hear about this again Monday night both in our discussion group and in the lecture.
I‘m praying that the Holy Spirit who lives in me will not only enable my mind and heart to understand this truth but will give me the strength and courage to appropriately apply this truth in my living.