“And the world has hated them because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.” ~John 17:14
To my fellow humans who think you are loosing your rights, are being persecuted, or think that the world hates you: maybe they do. The real question that many likely aren’t taking the time to ask, is why do they hate you? Do they hate you because you hate them, or because you love them? There is a difference. One will spur on further hatred and anger in the persecuted, the other will produce joy.
Jesus says the world will hate them, “because they are not of the world.” And here is where the distinction is to be made. Much of Christianity as it is known today IS “of the world.” As much as any other entity in the world, Christianity today is fighting for power, possessions, and position in order to enforce its perspective. Essentially there’s a yelling stance saying, “You are wrong! We are right!”
So what does “not of the world” look like then, and how would it inspire hatred referenced in the above quote from John 17:14?
- SOCIAL HIERARCHIES – When one is truly “not of the world,” all are equal, with equal rights and dignity. People are not owned, women have voices, and both rich and poor receive justice with genuine care.
- ACCUMULATION OF WEALTH – Again, when one is “not of the world,” s/he focuses on accumulating acts of kindness and generosity with an attitude that says, “If I have enough, and my fellow human is found lacking, I will share with them.”
- LOOKING GOOD – When a person is “not of the world,” actually BEING good is more important than looking good. This person can move past the facade of supposed neighborhood status, type of car ownership, and appearance in swimwear (to name a few examples), to focus on the spirit of another human being. S/he will work on becoming genuinely loving, desiring good for all – even their enemy.
I could go on, but I think you get the point.
A person or community deeply moved to LOVE, would inspire the true kind of hatred Jesus is talking about. I believe there’s a hatred that comes from challenging the status quo, and I believe hatred arises when those benefiting from oppression potentially see their “benefits” slipping away. If Christians are being hated, it should not come as a result of preaching AT the world, but if anything, the hatred should come from displaying unfathomable, nonsensical love TO the world.
So, my fellow earth dwellers, if/when you are hated, make sure it is not because you are busy being “of the world” trying to gain some heavenly real-estate in the name of God, but because you are living in such a way that confronts the world with ridiculous amounts of love, bestowing dignity upon all people.