Even though it had been repeatedly prophesied that the world will hate us, we are still shocked to see it happen. We wonder why we are so hated. We ask ourselves:
"How can it be that the faith that has brought the world its greatest measure of peace, justice, and social justice can be so hated? How can it be that those who are committed to love are so hated? Perhaps it’s our fault? Perhaps we are not obedient as we should be?"
Jesus had many explanations for the hatred of the world. For one thing, the world hates the light, the truth. It exposes their sin (John 3:19-21). Here is what He explained to His skeptical biological brothers:
- "The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify that its works are evil." (John 7:7)
Nothing will make us more defensive and murderous than to be exposed. However, it seems that even the mere presence of light makes others feel uncomfortable:
- 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. And who is equal to such a task? (2 Corinthians 2:14-16)
Perhaps the Christian is a reminder of their impending judgment - not a pleasant reminder at all.
However, the atheist will scorn this suggestion and protest, "I don't believe in your God at all." However, recent studies suggest that, although the atheist protests, on a deeper level he knows.
This also agrees with what Paul had written:
- Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them. (Romans 1:32)
No wonder they hate us and our Lord! (I would probably also hate Him had He not saved me!) Nevertheless, we must continue to pray (even as we pursue justice) as our Lord did as He was being put to death:
- "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." (Luke 23:34)