If the world hates you, know that it has hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. John 15:18-19
This is a part of Jesus’ last words of coaching before He was crucified. He spent it talking about abiding in Him, loving one another, bearing fruit–and now He is warning them ahead of time that it is going to be a rough road. He told them to be ready to suffer because people will hate them for following Him.
“The world” stands for unbelievers whose father is the devil, as Jesus bluntly put in John 8:44. And Colossians 1:21 tells us that people who don’t know Jesus are alienated from Him and are enemies of God. So no wonder they argue or try to get you to stop talking about Jesus. Don’t be surprised when some people react with hatred when you indicate that you are a Christian.
Believers around the world are imprisoned and killed for their faith. This isn’t the case in America (yet), but if we want to be like Jesus, that means we will share in His sufferings somehow. The road to His glory went through the cross, and we follow the same path. In Acts 14:22 Paul said that “through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.”
We are hated by the world because we no longer identify with them. We’re aliens because we don’t follow the rules and ways of this world. We’ve been chosen out of the world. We now identify with Jesus. We march to His drum beat and it’s totally different and sometimes radical. In John 16:3 we find that people will persecute Christians thinking that they’re doing God a favor. They think they know God, but they really don’t.
Your persecution may come in different forms than believers who are imprisoned and killed. You may be shunned by your old friends or your family because you stopped acting like them. Employers may not like you because they uncomfortable with Christians, or their stereotype of a Christian, and will box you out of opportunities to advance. You may get called names, or told that you are “bigoted, narrow minded, and homophobic” or other names.
Perhaps we aren’t feeling the rub because we blend in, keep our mouths shut and hesitate to put our oppositional belief system to others. O God, move in me to be so much more than what I am because the living God is inside of me. Enable me to walk as Jesus walked and to be willing to be shunned, mistreated and persecuted for the sake of Your name. I am stepping over the line to go from blending in to standing up, even if it means loss.
**In 1980 a young man from Rwanda was forced by his tribe to either renounce Christ or face certain death. He refused to renounce Christ, and he was killed on the spot. The night before he had written the following commitment which was found in his room:
“I’m part of the fellowship of the unashamed, the die has been cast, I have stepped over the line, the decision has been made- I’m a disciple of Jesus Christ. I won’t look back, let up, slow down, back away or be still.
My past is redeemed, my present makes sense, my future is secure. I’m finished and done with low living, sight walking, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tamed vision, worldly talking, cheap giving & dwarfed goals.
My face is set, my gait is fast, my goal is heaven, my road is narrow, my way is rough, my companions are few, my guide is reliable, my mission is clear. I won’t give up, shut up, let up until I have stayed up, stored up, prayed up for the cause of Jesus Christ.
I must go till He comes, give till I drop, preach till everyone knows, work till He stops me & when He comes for His own, He will have no trouble recognizing me because my banner will have been clear.”
Cited from: http://www.wayofthemaster.com/confession.shtml