“If you belonged to the world, the world would love you as its own. Because you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world– therefore the world hates you” (John 15:19).
In our Gospel passage yesterday, Jesus calls us His friends on the condition that we do what He commands which is to love others as He loved us. Today, Jesus is telling us that the world will hate us because we do not belong to it. How do we reconcile this? We are to love others as Jesus loved, but instead of love what we get from the world is hatred.
If the world hated Christ, the world cannot love those who truly stand for Christ. We experience this hatred in different ways, but instead of loving like Christ, we fall easily into the temptation of returning hatred towards those who hate us. Very sadly today, it has become commonplace to hear Christians issuing curses on both real and imagined enemies during prayer. Some even go as far as pronouncing curses right from the Altar. “If God is a living God, let so and so die!” In the end, the person does not die yet God remains a living God.
It takes a heart to love or to hate. Indeed, there is a thin line between love and hate. Our natural human tendency is to hate those who hate us; wish their death or find ways to fight back. But then, as born-again Christians, we are to transcend our natural human tendencies. We are to love even those who hate us and pray (that is, bless) those who hate us.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbour and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:43-45).
Let us be Christians. Stop praying negative prayers. Don’t pray for your enemies to die, pray that God would set a table before you in their presence – that they would see your cup overflowing and recognize that they are not greater than God.
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, teach me to love just as you loved. Amen. Bible Study: Acts 16:1-10, Psalm 100 and John 15:18-21).