May 16, 2020 (Saturday) - Love & Hate - A Reflection on John 15:18-21

“If the world hates you, be aware that it hated me before it hated you. If you belonged to the world, the world would love you as its own. Because you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world—therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, ‘Servants are not greater than their master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you; if they kept my word, they will keep yours also. But they will do all these things to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me.

Over the last few days we have been listening to Jesus telling us to love everybody as he loves us. This, as we saw, is with a love that is unconditional, forgiving, and self-sacrificing. Today we find him saying that many of these people we are told to love are going to hate us. Can you imagine that? We are going to receive hate in return for love! And I can’t help but wonder how many among us are okay with this. Are you okay with this? Be honest. Are you?

A couple of days ago a very dear friend of mine told me she thought the idea of loving an offender was farfetched. I suspect a lot of us agree with her, although outwardly we will make all the right noises. Please don’t. There is no need to pretend we are nobler than we actually are. Because, when we do, God can’t work with us. Better to say, “Dear God, this person has hurt me very badly. I want to hurt him back. How can I possibly love him? Please help me!”

And if we don’t close our minds, because he will say things to us that we may not want to hear; and if we don’t harden our hearts, because he will pour his love into it, he WILL help us. But I am sure there is another question we have. Why would the world hate us? Because we are different. We are, as Scripture says, “a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation”; we are “a people that have moved out of the darkness into the light” (see 1 Peter 2:9).

And “everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed” (John 3:20). Think about all the rubbish that has been happening in the world, especially lately, and you will see evil staring you right in the face. The secular world has managed to invert the box of morality, making what is bad, good; and making what is good, bad.

For just one example, consider abortion. This is cold blooded murder. But the world says it is okay. So, when the REAL Christian calls it for what it is — murder, and the murder of a child by its own mother, at that — then, quite obviously, they will be hated. What do you expect? So, then, you ask: And I am supposed to love these guys who hate me?  Yes! Because they don't know what they do! And the only thing that can make them see sense, the only thing that can change them, is love.

So, does the world hate you? If they don’t, maybe you need to ask why?

God bless you.