1 JOHN 3:13
“Do not be surprised, brethren, if the world hates you.”
I don’t exactly remember the first time I realized the world hated me because of my beliefs. I mean, I know my walk with Christ does not exactly measure up to the world’s walk. My exposure to hatred has been more from some individuals who wanted to argue about abortion, same sex marriage or another strongly held belief. My refusal to argue with them only seemed to make them want to fight more. Have you experienced that?
John is warning us to not be surprised. In fact, that is a command – DO NOT be surprised. He is essentially telling us we are going to face this. But we are not to hate back. Jesus warned us of this Himself. John heard Him say that. John watch how He responded to their hatred, all the way to the cross. He heard Him say those words on the cross, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”
Here we go again. How do you teach your children this truth? You live it out before them. Every time someone treats you with hatred, you respond with love. When they continue to hate you, you continue to love. You invite your children to pray with you for that person. You ask the Lord to break down that hatred they have in their heart because we know it is not of God.
Children learn from that. They are watching. They will imitate those actions much quicker than just repeat your words. And when you see them imitate that love, make sure you praise them for it. Let them know how proud you are of them for choosing love over hatred.
Is there someone you need to love more today who has shown you nothing but scorn and hatred? I didn’t say it was easy. Hatred towards us, if we are living for Christ, is really hatred towards Him. He received it. Why shouldn’t we? Allow Jesus to love through you. Don’t return the hate. Return love.
I choose love over hate, even when I know it will be difficult. Help me, Lord, to surrender to you daily.