“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.”-John 15:18
Many people—Christians and non-Christians alike—think highly of Jesus, but often the Jesus they are attracted to is not the real Jesus. For example, some think of him as a spiritual guru or moral teacher, but not as Savior. Christians can also have wrong ideas about Jesus. Too often, we envision a Jesus that loves the same things we love and hates the same people we hate.
Jesus told his disciples that if they were following him and obeying his command to love, they would be hated. Doesn’t that seem ridiculous? Yet history bears it out. When Christians love certain classes of “sinners” without judgment, religious people get piping mad. They want believers to follow a carefully scripted life that recognizes who is in and who is out. Whether we love gays, Muslims, liberals, Republicans, ethnic minorities, white men, or atheists, there will always be religious grumblers. And yet, to follow Jesus is to love as he loved.
Jesus, you tell me that I will be hated for loving like you loved. I know you were hated too, but I confess that I do not want to suffer for your sake. Frequently, my motivation is to please others. Turn my heart to understand that it is your opinion that matters. Amen.