READ: Song of Solomon 8, John 15, 1 Peter 4
LOVE TO BE HATED
We should love to be hated, but we should not seek to be hated. Being hated by the world brings us closer to Jesus. After all He reminds us that “if the world hates you, know that it hated me before it hated you” (John 15:18). We find it odd that the world hates Jesus, but it does. The professions of love that the world has for Jesus are false, for they love a Jesus of their own creation. Muslims loudly claim that they love and honor Jesus, but the Jesus they embrace is a Jesus of their own liking and not a divine sovereign. Jesus calls us from our worlds (Islam, secular humanism, nominal Christianity, etc.) and tells us that His choosing of us must result in the world we leave hating us (v. 19). It is naïve to think that if a Muslim or an atheist just sees and understands Jesus, they would love, adore, and follow Him. This is true neither for the devils or a human. Jesus himself said, “They have both seen and also hated both Me and My Father” (v. 24). It is sheer folly for the Christian to try so hard to be liked by the world, for we cannot be respected by the world that we are called to leave and be obedient to the will of the Father, even and especially when the world sees Jesus clearly. The will of God includes suffering as a normal ongoing experience for the Christian. We are to “arm ourselves with the same mind” that Jesus had (1 Peter 4:1), a predetermination to suffer as a Christian unashamedly (v. 16). We are not to think that suffering is strange (v. 12) but rather to rejoice in suffering, rejoice that suffering leads us to partake in Christ (v. 13). Jesus wants our mentality to be one that embraces suffering in the flesh for the will of God (v. 1), for we have spent enough time suffering for the foolish will of the world (v. 3).
Simplistically Jesus says that we will be hated and we will suffer, so we might as well approach hatred and suffering from a redemption perspective. This fallen world does not allow universal popularity or safety, so let us determine that we will be hated and we will suffer for the only One who can make pain redemptive, for it deeply hurts to be hated and persecuted. Let us be hated for Jesus’ sake, not because we are selfish, foolish, violent, and mean. Let us suffer for Jesus’ sake not because we are arrogant, hasty, impatient, or uncaring. Reproach for sin and stupidity is one thing; reproach for the name of Christ is blessed, for in that sting the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon us (v. 14). The blasphemy and scorn of the critic is linked to the glorying in God of the persecuted. To suffer for self is a shame, to suffer for the Savior is a privilege. Let us then speak (and live) as an oracle of God, that in all things God might be glorified (v. 11). Let us speak and live happy to be loved or hated, caring only that we follow immediately in the footsteps of Jesus: hated where He is hated, rejected where He is rejected, suffering for and with Him, loved where He is embraced, that He might be glorious in all things.