Here’s a good question for you to ponder…. “Have you ever been hated?” And, if so, … WHY??
Good one Lee! -anita
If you’re like me, you want to be liked. I dislike having arguments with other people, particularly people that I care about. I go out of my way to try and be conciliatory, to work things out with other folks. My theory is: life’s too short to be fighting with others.
Clearly, though, there are times when I get on someone’s wrong side. They get angry with me, they judge me, they may even attack me (hopefully just verbally) for something I say or do. As a Christian, part of my responsibility is to love others as Christ loves us…to be at peace as far as I can control that. “…not returning evil for evil, or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead….” [1 Peter 3:9] [Rom 12:18]
Sometimes, though, others will look at me and simply judge me, usually for something I say. Many times that judgment comes because of something I say concerning the Lord Jesus. There are times when I get “written off” as a person of worth simply because I love the Lord and believe that God oversees all things, created all things. You’ve probably seen “the look”: the one judging you looks at you and maybe rolls their eyes or looks back at you askance. From that point forward you are viewed as having no worth and are disliked to some degree, maybe even hated.
Sometimes maybe I deserve that treatment, especially when I get on my soap box and expound to others. I may even appear to be judgmental toward another person or persons. Of course, most people take offense when I (or you) appear to be judging them, and rightly so. “Judge not lest you be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged….” [Mt 7:1-2] And, may we never forget that reference later in this passage in Matthew about our viewing that speck in our brother’s eye!
I just read something that applies here in a discussion of being hated by the world. [John 15:18-21] The point of this discussion was to emphasize that we should be hated by the world for the right reasons. The article states: “When we are hated by the world, it must be because we are faithful to Christ and the proclamation of His gospel and not because we are belligerent, annoying, or otherwise not enjoyable to be around.”
I believe we should speak of and live by His truth; we never should water that down. But there are many ways that such Godly truth is imparted—one important way is to live our lives out like Jesus wants us to: by obeying Him and by loving others the way He loves us. That statement alone precludes judging them but rather, mandates that we show them love. If we show them such love—even when they act obnoxiously toward us—they will probably begin to wonder how we are able to do that. They may even ask us about that ability and loving response, and voila! There’s our opening to talk about the One who enables us to love, even when we’re disliked/hated.