“Whoever hates me hates my Father as well. If I had not done among them the works no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. As it is, they have seen, and yet they have hated both me and my Father. But this is to fulfill what is written in their Law: ‘They hated me without reason.’ (Jn 15;23-25)
It is Christmas season again. Thank God! We are celebrating the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. During this time people visit each other, exchange gifts and good wishes. All these are good. I am grateful for the many gifts and cards we have received. Thank you! God bless you! But for me, the Word of God is the only “Gift” that satisfies my heart. In particular, the Words of Jesus are Manna from heaven for my soul; they feed my faith, they give me hope and make me strong. In the passage above I am reminded once again that not everybody loves Jesus. How do I know that? Because He said so! Therefore it must be so! Our Lord said that the world hates Him. The world is the system by which men live ‘a normal life’ without needing God. On the contrary, the Kingdom of God is made by all believers, the born again children of God, who live eternally with Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus said that the people of the world hate Him. He warns us that because of Him, this hatred shall be extended to us the believers. This warning is a sign of love. This is the truth: I am not ‘better’ than my Master. It is a privilege for me to share in the hatred and persecution my Lord has suffered on earth. As a child of God I have to get used to the idea that all unbelievers around me, even the nice and religious ones, shall hate me for Christ’s sake. Sharing in this ‘second hand’ hatred is painful. But the pain produces the sweet passion love for Jesus, knowing that both of us suffer exactly the same. This identification with the Cross of Christ is the true mysterious fountain of worship. If you call yourself a Christian but you have not suffered persecution, hatred and rejection for no other reason than the fact that the glory of God rests on you, then you are deceived. You are either not born again or you are backsliding. All true born again Christians share in this peculiar pain of persecution and spiritual discrimination. If you desire to avoid this pain, you betray your Best Friend, Jesus Christ. God forbid!
The word ‘hate’ appears four times in these verses. To hate it means to violently dislike another. It also means to love less than you are supposed to love. Idolaters hate Jesus! For as long as you hold to an imaginary idol in your heart, you shall love that idol and you shall hate Jesus! Chronic un-repented hatred becomes a spiritual stronghold occupied by the demons of fear, anger and malice. People who hate others love to make them suffer. In particular, they persecute the believers looking for ways to cause them pain. Dear child of God, the men of this world desire to humiliate you, to oppress you and to make you cry. Then they become happy. Your weeping excites them. They rejoice at your pain. These haters have no good reason for their hate, no excuse at all why they do these wicked things. The devil is their lord. They cannot help themselves. They go on creating misery everywhere. They break people’s hearts and joke about it. Their only friends are wicked people like themselves.
What should you do? Have faith in God! As a born again Christian you should not fear the unbelievers’ hatred. You should not desire their company. You should not be jealous of their power or wealth. You should not hate them back. The best thing is to trust God in all situations and to remain calm under un-explainable persecution. Pray for your ignorant enemies that they may repent. Overcome evil with good! Remember: God blesses His children who suffer for His sake! Pray for the grace and the strength of God to sustain you during these attacks. This suffering is not forever and at the end of it, the crown of life is given to His faithful servants! Be filled with the Holy Spirit! Finally I say to you: Merry Christmas!
(These toys belong to our children. This year they could not come for Christmas. I have arranged the scene of the Nativity on my table as in ‘the days of old’)