Do you know what it is like to be hated?
For probably most of us, being hated is a foreign concept, disliked maybe, but hated… that’s pretty harsh! We may have some stories as youth of peers who didn’t like us for this reason or that, or maybe as we matured, a co-worker who was spiteful towards us. Maybe some of the reasons we were disliked was because of hurtful things that we did to others. In some countries around the world, however, minority people groups are so hated that they are not only ridiculed and scorned, but hunted and killed. They truly know what it is like to be hated. They may be able to associate more fully with Jesus’ teachings…
Jesus said that if we are His true followers, we will be hated.
- “You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. ” Matthew 10:22
Wow! Who wants that? It is contrary to our very nature. Since birth, we all have this inner desire to fit in and be loved. We can see this clearly throughout our lives, from our play groups, to being part of the in-crowd as a teenager, to the life of the party as a college student, and one of the good old boys at work. Jesus’ statement strikes a sense of fear and division deep into our souls. Why would we intentionally want to be hated?
If God’s Word is true, then truth is, if you really belong to Jesus, the world will hate you. It hated Jesus for His message and likewise, it will hate you, too, if you give His message. It just comes with the territory. Are you willing to be hated for His Name sake, at your own expense?
- “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 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… Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the one who sent me.” John 15:18-21
You’re a nice person! Your kind and loving to others, showing them mercy and grace! So, why would you be hated?
With the true message of Jesus, you will bother the consciences of some. The higher moral standards that you try to live by will cast others in a bad light as they don’t try to uphold the same. Your integrity will underscore their corrupted, selfish motives. You’ll make them feel agitated as you remind them of truths they are trying to ignore in their souls. Conviction tends to bring hatred for the unrepentant.
- “But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are an aroma that brings death; to the other, an aroma that brings life.” 2 Corinthians 2:14-16
Be willing to identify with God so He will be willing to identify with you.
- “Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven. “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. ” Matthew 10:32-34
The truth is, when the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ is preached, souls will be saved, even when there are those who will despise and hate you for it. You are a strong, irritating fragrance to some… the fragrance of death. But, to some, you are the sweet, beautiful fragrance of life. Some will rebel even further away. Some will be drawn towards God. Is it worth proclaiming His message so that those who smell the sweet fragrance will be restored and saved unto Him?
We, The Church, are “The Called Out Ones.” Yes, it is our job to proclaim the same message as Jesus Christ, Himself, preached. Some will hate us. Some will love us. But, all will need to hear the message.
- “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” Romans 10:14-15
Feeling intimidated? Courage comes from a transformed spiritual life. Jesus Christ gives the courage and boldness to speak up for Him… and the words. All you need to do is step up and speak from your heart when you are called, but be ready to be both persecuted and loved for these words.
- “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
Father God, Forgive us for the times when we have backed down and not stood up for You and Your Message because we were too afraid of what others would say about us. Give us the strength and courage to speak your Name into the lives of those we come in contact with. Use us to help many people to come to know You, just as others have shared You with us. In Jesus Name. Amen.