1 John 3:13 (NCV) Brothers and sisters, do not be surprised when the people of the world hate you.
God loves us so much we are called his children. We belong to Him and once we accept Him as our Lord and Savior, we are made new. In God’s eyes we are a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17). As we grow in our Christian faith, we change to become more like Jesus Christ. The Bible tells us in 1 John 3 that the world will not know us – in fact we are hated – because the world doesn’t know God.
We know that sin causes us to break God’s law. If we are in Christ and continue to sin, do we really understand and know him in the first place? (v 6) The Bible says we don’t. John encourages us to stop sinning and be like Christ. Christ loved so therefore, we must do the same. We must love each other. John tells us in verse 14 that “whoever does not love is still dead.” In fact John continues with “Everyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer.” Whoa! Stop here for just a second. Have you ever uttered the words “I hate that guy!” or “I hate her!”? I know I sure have. I remember on several occasions when I said “I hate ______________!”
When I was younger my dad asked me all the time “hate is such a strong word babe, do you really hate or do you just dislike?” It took a while before I understood that hating someone was just like murdering them. I know I don’t want to be considered a murderer in God’s eyes… do you? We must love… because Christ loved us. But (of course there’s a but…) according to John, words are not enough. We must back up our words with action and true caring (v 18).
I am still learning to love the way Christ loves. Whenever I feel myself wanting to utter the words “I really hate ____________.” I have to remind myself of what I am actually saying. I would much rather work towards loving the way Christ loved instead of being consumed by hate.