Haters Gonna Hate

9:06 AMHeather

Haters gonna hate.  Yep.  That's pretty much what I read this morning in my Bible.  Well, maybe not in those exact words, per se.  But, essentially. I've been camping out in John 15.  This is where Jesus is wrapping up his time on earth, having some really important conversations with his disciples.  

He tells them a very important standard for obedient living--to just abide.  Remain.  Cling.  To him as the Vine.  In other words, the key to fruitful, God pleasing lives is the passive act of remaining right with Him.  Following His lead.  Dwelling and staying, right with Him.  Through prayer.  And time in His word.  And worship.  In other words, if someone asks you where you stay...you live so that you can boldly proclaim--right here with Him! This is the key to obedience and the all important command to love one another. 

And then, Jesus says haters gonna hate. 

So, don't be surprised, Jesus says.  Because remember--the world hated Jesus first.  If you attach yourself to the name of Jesus, then you, too, will feel the heat.  But, listen. Don't worry.  This world isn't where we belong.  We are, in fact, chosen out of the world, Jesus says.  In other words, we are just passing through here, and as aliens and foreigners in this world, we don't belong.  The locals won't like us.  

That's okay.  The charge is to be okay with being hated.  It's a sign of where we truly belong.  Because the King of Kings chose us to outta here.  John 15:18-25 explains that Jesus turned it all upside down.  His miracles reveal His holiness, His power, and His deity.  His death reveals our need for a Savior.  His sacrifice shines the light on our insufficient, sinful, sorry state of affairs.  The death we are destined for without the gift of His salvation.  

And yes.  Haters gonna hate that.  You see, Jesus was okay with being hated.  It does not change who He is, how He loves, or what He plans.  He calls us to do likewise.  To not engage in animosity or hatred.  Accept it.  Don't be surprised or deterred from our call to love simply because we are misunderstood when we proclaim His name.  

Which begs the question for me this morning.  Am I okay with being hated?  Do I really disregard all opinions but His?  Do I plant my hope in where I really belong?  Do I rely on the Spirit of truth given within me to empower and equip me?  Do I engage in love with an unbelieving hostile world because I am so rooted in the Jesus with whom I abide?  

Here's what I wrote in my journal in response to this passage.

"Man's approval or lack thereof has no eternal significance.  This isn't even where I belong.  Do I live like this is true? What would it look like if I did?"

What does it look like when you are just visiting a place?  When you think you may never see these people again and they are not your sphere of influence?  Do you act differently?  

I can remember a mission trip where we were asked to go door-to-door inviting people to a community, interfaith Bible study.  
Um, yeah.  Not really my thing. 

But I mustered up the courage to complete the task.  I sorta rationalized that I don't live here, I don't have to live with any fall out, and if they didn't like me, that was okay.  I don't even really know them.  Based on their response, I was grieved that the people in the community were so calloused to God and His Word.  In fact, our entire little group was grieved.  Unsure what to do--because the door-to-door thing was not working out--we prayed for a way to connect with these people and just show them that they are loved. 

We responded by throwing a free community car wash.  

No strings attached.  These cynical people just didn't believe us.  When asked what the trick was, our only response was we wanted to show God's love and do something for them.  It made all the difference.  We soon found ourselves with a long line of cars, lots of new friends, and great opportunities to just simply connect and demonstrate God's grace and love.  It had a great impact on those of us on both sides of the equation.

What if I lived everyday with more of that mentality?  Could I be more bold?  Could I love more freely?  Show more grace?  Overlook offenses because they become an expectation and a sign that I'm abiding with the Christ who turned the world upside down.

That I could just root myself in His word.  Pray throughout my days.  Turn down the noise and distractions of this world.  Let the haters hate and don't be caught up in it.  And press on.  Planting my hope in my eternal home.  Drawing my worth and value from my eternal Father rather than the opinions of man.

That I might hear the voice of my Savior drowning out all naysayers.  Telling me to press on!  Run hard.  Run well.  Love uncommonly.  No matter the haters.     

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