“They hated me without cause.”
I find it interesting that in our current culture, those who cry “hate” the loudest are non-believers, atheists, and the religious Christmas and Easter crowd. In reality, they are the haters.
They hate the followers of Jesus who must speak the truth. How the guilty project upon the innocent is an interesting psychological phenomenon. But since I am no psychologist or psychiatrist, I’ll stick with the Son of God’s evaluation. His perspective cannot be improved upon and proves, after all, to not be limited to a time in history. Hating has been going on for a very long time. However, Jesus tells us who the real haters are, giving us also the reason behind the hatred.
““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. Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have been guilty of sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. Whoever hates me hates my Father also. If I had not done among them the works that no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin, but now they have seen and hated both me and my Father. But the word that is written in their Law must be fulfilled: ‘They hated me without a cause.’” (John 15:18–25, ESV)
Here Jesus warns his disciples—those who know and love Him. He tells them in advance the many strange things that are going to come upon them so that they won’t lose heart as they stand in a sinful culture holding out to a hateful world the word of life and love.
First he makes it crystal clear: When you are hated, recognize what is really going on underneath that hatred. The world does not recognize you as its own. You are not seen as a part. Since you are not of their world any longer, they hate you. When you were with them in their sinful, self-directed lifestyle, they loved you . . . or not. But now that you have been rescued from that way of life, you no longer belong—as you grow in Christlikeness. You are no longer under their control. You don’t have to perform to prove your value. Your value is intrinsic in your relationship to Christ.
They hate Christ. His righteous life shows the decadence of theirs or at least does not recognize their self-made “goodness.” But beyond that . . . why do they hate Jesus? Because, Jesus says: “all these things they will do ON ACCOUNT OF MY NAME (because of Jesus), because THEY DO NOT KNOW HIM WHO SENT ME.” (That would be God, the Father). Nor do they want to know Him.
Think of the immense danger their souls are in. In hating you and me, they hate Jesus and in hating Jesus, they hate God the Father. They are lost to the uttermost and until they turn from their hatred—instead of falsely accusing us of hate—they will remain lost and forfeit immortality.
So . . . what’s our response as disciples and followers of Jesus—sons of the Father? We are to continue to love them. Jesus said to love those who persecute and despitefully abuse you. We must love them. We must pray (as someone prayed for us), that the veil that covers their hearts and minds from seeing who Jesus really is and who they were meant to be will be removed. In doing this, we ransack the kingdoms of this world which are under the operation of the enemy. We displace darkness with light, lies with truth until all of God’s children know that they are loved by Him and find their way home.
QUESTION: What do you think?