Jesus told His disciples to not be surprised when the world hated them because It hated Him first. I think the hardest part is when the hate comes from even our fellow believers.
But, that is exactly in line with what Jesus experienced with the Jewish leaders; His own people, who were not truly his own people, hated the truth that He spoke because it exposed them. Their identity was in their religion, not in the Father.
Identity is something that is at the heart of every person's core. Who they believe themselves to be. Nothing can be more true about our identity, than the truth of the Creator who made us.
Yet, in our culture today, the enemy pushes false identity like a prescription drug to all people. Wherever he finds a weakness, he will try to deceive.
This is what Jesus exposed in the religious leaders, their identity was not in the Father…but in their religion. Expose this truth, and they will respond with hate.
But look around, it's everywhere. Our culture is littered with false identity. Sexual identity and racial identity are right up there with religious identity. But I want to challenge everyone reading this: That at the core of this issue, any identity aside from the One who created us is a false identity!
We can never fully be free when we label ourselves under an umbrella of less than who we truly are.
But to challenge these things, is to invite backlash, is to invite hate. My advice to all believers, is to push forward in love, in peace and in respect. Just as Jesus did. Lean on God's truth in the midst of the enemy's hate. When they lie about you, when they falsely accuse you, give your time, heart and energy into the wonders of God's truth, and disarm the enemy. Give thanks to the Lord for His faithfulness, and pray for those who persecute you.
And lastly, always remember, that the goal of truth is to reach those whose hearts are willing…to help God's people, who are all people, to come to know His goodness more; Not to beat people over their heads and judge others. It's to help people to know the heart and nature of the Fathers' love and faithfulness.
Anyone who rejects Him, has their own cross to bear in eternity…but hopefully your life will be a beacon of light to many who are on the wrong path. It's by His love that He draws them!
So let not the enemy's hate create destain in your heart…or he has succeeded in snuffing out your light! Instead let your love, and light shine all the more. Let the Lord create a more gracious spirit in you, a more genuine love than you have ever possessed before.
When the enemy raises a weapon against you, don't fight him with his same weapon or you will look just like him. Instead lean in with your sword which is the Word of God, which is the weapon that Jesus used.
And seek the leading of the Holy Spirit, allow heaven to encourage your heart so that when you show up…you look more like Jesus than you did the day before.
May you overcome as the world hates you, may your love shine as bright as the morning sun. Because eternity is your eternal promise, and only love can extinguish hate.
"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 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