I am a bi-vocational pastor, so for now I have a regular 8-5, Monday through Friday secular job. We have a diverse background of people, mostly former and retired military. An unfriendly environment developed and tough to evangelize, but I still give it a shot.
One Sunday after church, my wife and I did some shopping at the local food store. From time to time, I see people that I work, and always good to try and make it a point to say, “hi.” I get mixed reactions when I do.
On this particular Sunday, a young lady that sits two cubicles from me quickly came around the corner into the aisle. I went to say “hi,” she saw me, shook her head, and move faster down the aisle. We wanted to see if we could find her, but she probably left in a hurry.
I am not overly sensitive, but I felt pretty sad. If I did anything wrong to anyone, come to me and tell me, so I can apologize, make amends, and move on. Sometimes, easier said than done. Jesus reminded me of what He told the disciples in John 15:18-25.
Don’t Take the Hate Personally
If worldly people hate you, not because they hate you, but Jesus first (John 15:18). I know you are probably shaking your head, but let me or Jesus explain. In verse 19, we came from the world; they loved and welcome us with open arms. When Jesus chose us, we accepted the call and free gift of salvation. We made Jesus the Lord of our lives and now the world hates us. That is why Jesus said, “They hated me first.” Remember, Satan will turn the world against us without blinking an eye.
Jesus continues, “if they persecute Me, they will persecute you” (John 15:20). They will do things to you for My name’s sake because “they have no relationship with God” (John 15:21). People say they believe in God, but their actions towards you and others will show different. You cannot love God and show hate towards others (1 John 1:7-10).
Jesus backs them into a corner, “If I not come and spoken to them, they would not have sinned, but now they have no excuse for their sin” (John 15:22). People hate Jesus because He alone exposed their sin. The good thing, Jesus wants you to repent with all of your heart, and accept Him as Lord and Savior.
To finish, Jesus mentions they also hate my Father (John 15:23). If they listened to Jesus, turn from their sin, they would love Him, but because of their unbelief, they hate God, Jesus, and you. Sad, isn’t it?
Rejoice in Persecution
If you are hated by people, do not be upset, or throw a fit stomping around complaining. Rejoice! Keep preaching and teaching the truth of Jesus. Never stop being a believer and do not ever give in to a watered-down Gospel.
Jesus ends His Sermon on the Mount in Matthew chapter five with this statement, “God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers. Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way” (Matthew 5:11-12).
We should consider ourselves blessed for being mocked by the world. Many did the same to Jesus and the Prophets. Our world has become increasingly ungodly and secular. Do not get upset or hurt when the world shuns you. As a Christian, your citizenship is not in the world, but in heaven. I will paraphrase Grace Wesley, “I would rather stand with God and the world judge me than stand with the world and God judge.” Amen!
I am Dale Van De Bogart and I approve of this message!
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