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Hatred Is Normal For The World

1 John 3:11-13
For this is the message you heard from the beginning: we should love one another. Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brother's were righteous. Do not be surprised, my brothers and sisters, if the world hates you. (NIVUK)

Life, as a child of God, should be full of love. Our eternal life starts when we repent of our rebellion against God and receive His love and forgiveness. Love is normal for God because He is love; and so for those who have His seed (1 John 3:9), loving is the normal way of relating. Jesus commanded that His disciples should love each other as He loved them. Indeed, love was to be the hallmark of discipleship (John 13:34-35) – the stamp of authenticity of being a child of God.

Alas Cain, the first child of Adam and Eve, showed that he was a child of the devil when he murdered his brother Abel (Genesis 4:3-8). Brotherly love meant nothing to him because he bitterly resented God's favour to his younger brother. Instead of humbly asking Abel to help him please God, Cain was angry and jealous that Abel enjoyed God's love. The anger overflowed into hatred and murder. Nothing inflames evil quite as much as a display of obedient love towards God, which is the evidence of righteousness.

Two principles emerge from this. Firstly, that God's children should love each other: it is their spiritually genetic nature. They should not resent God's favour to another believer, or hate those whom God has sealed by His Spirit (2 Corinthians 1:22). Secondly, we should not be surprised when the world hates the people who love Jesus (1 Peter 4:12-14). It is normal for the world to hate Jesus and the family of God, whether that hatred is expressed in violence, exclusion or indifference.

God designed us to be loved, and to love; and so it is always painful to be hated or for our love to be rejected. Every time we look to the world to love us, we will be disappointed unless we agree with them to dethrone Jesus. We do not need to be aggressive in sharing the gospel in order to get a negative response; the truth in love is sufficient to stir the world against us. But we are called to live and speak the truth because we share God's love for the people who are trapped in worldly ideology or Christless religion – even though they hate us for it. Without receiving His love they are lost forever. So, whatever it costs, keep loving for Christ's sake.

Loving Lord. Thank You for loving me. Forgive me for not loving my brothers and sisters as I should; and forgive me for shrinking back from the Lordship of Christ in order to be accepted by the world. Help me to love Your children without favouritism, and to love my friends and colleagues who do not yet value the redeeming love of Christ. In His Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams